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senate historian donald ritchie. later, he could call in with questions for members of the house and senate. this is "washington journal." it's called republican leader john boehner turned the speaker's gavel over to nancy pelosi in 2007. today she returns it over to him. welcome. as always, c-span will be live with gavel-to-gavel comprehensive coverage of today's event in both the house and the senate, including voting on the new speaker and swearing in of all members. and when congress convenes today at noon, one-fifth of the house of representatives will be made up of new members, many of them never having held elected office before. in the senate, 15% will be new.
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the republican leadership of the house, speaker john boehner, majority leader harry kantor and majority whip kevin mccarthy taking office today -- majority leader eric cantor. of this extended five-hour "washington journal" this morning we will speak to several members of congress, congressional scholars, and, as always, we will be taking your phone calls. here is how you can participate -- here are the headlines of the three publications that cover capitol hill comprehensively.
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here is "roll call." "politico" -- and "the hill" newspaper -- joining us is the managing editor of "the hill" newspaper, bob cusack. this is a day of thispomp. what kind of pomp and substance will be -- will we see today? guest: it is john boehner's day. senators will be sworn in by vice president joe biden. but all eyes are on john boehner. he is going to be sworn in as the 53rd speaker of the house. sworn in by john dingell, the dean of the house. then he will deliver a speech where he will outline how he plans to run the house, the issues he plans to focus on, and primarily it is going to be
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cutting spending and trying to create jobs, something the democrats and president obama tried to do a lot in the last congress but the election came and now we have a new congress, diminished democratic majority but still a democratic majority in the senate and now a new republican majority in the house. there will be a lot to watch. a lot of pomp and circumstance but it will be fascinating to see what john boehner said. he has said in an interview that he would run the house separately than his democratic and republican predecessors. he is going to make it more open, more transparent. he made kasich and dick and problem -- promise, i think, and the new rule that bills must be made public 72 hours before they can be voted on. republicans and democrats made the promise before. we will see of john boehner keeps to it. but republican leaders say they must because they say the wind in november was not for the republican party, just a
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rejection of democrats and they still have a lot to prove. that is where we start. republican majority starts to prove its worth and democrats, as they said yesterday, they are seeing a lot of hypocrisy already. >> 435 total members -- host: 435 members, two runs and 42 are republicans and 193 democrats -- 242 are republicans and 193 are democrats. guest: the new moderate spelled out by eric cantor. the republicans in the bush administration -- they had it 12 years and lost it in the election of 2006, -- they really did not have a slogan to try to cut spending. now they feel like they finally have a moment where they can have the political will.
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on the campaign trail if you say you want to cut government spending, that is a popular initiative. but when you go to specific programs -- and that is what house republicans have to do because john boehner is committed to bringing a bill on the floor each and every week to cut spending. you get into popular programs, entitlement programs. that will be difficult -- whether you are cutting education, police programs, medicare, social security. it is going to be difficult. this is something where you can cut the government and grow the economy. it is very interesting because it is a direct contrast to how democrats started the last congress with the stimulus bill that most republicans rejected. that basically was a spending and growth philosophy, and, of course, some analysts said the stimulus did work but the white house was always hampered by the prediction that the stimulus, if it passed, which it did, would
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keep unemployment below 8.5% and now the unemployment is nine point eight% and we saw the political fallout november 2 -- 9.8% and we saw the political fallout november 2. host: at noon, the house clerk will call the house to order. prayer, pledge of allegiance, quorum call, and nominations for speaker will be made at that point. at about 12:40 p.m. this afternoon eastern time, members of congress will select the new house speaker. approximately 1:40 p.m., outgoing speaker nancy pelosi will address the house and present the new speaker, who will be john boehner, republican of ohio. then john boehner will give his speech. the dean of the house, john dingell, will administer the oath of office to speaker elect boehner at that point that and then speaker boehner will swear in the members of the one region and 12th congress. -- of the 112th congress.
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then the rules package being proposed by the rules committee. here are some aspects. a bill or joint resolution must cite the constitution. new transparency for bills, as bob cusack just spoke to. new transparency efforts in committees. and reforms to the budget process which bob cusack also spoke to. bob cusack, beginning tomorrow, they are going to read the constitution on the floor of the house. what is the point of this? guest: the point of this, i think the big trigger is the health care reform bill that many republicans said were unconstitutional. we have seen the battle in the courts as far as the individual mandate. the legal challenge will continue. republicans are saying that democrats got away from the constitution of what is allowed. they have gone beyond it. they passed a massive health care bill that was unconstitutional. they want to set up these new
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rules and they will pass them. they have critics on the republicans and democratic side, but they will have votes to pass this new package where you have to cite in your constitution your authority to propose whenever the legislation you are proposing. that, coupled with an spending limits -- if you are going to have legislation that will spend any money, you have to have offsetting cuts to it. there are exceptions to these rules. as far as the constitution, that is their mantra and that is what they're focusing on, and that think it is going to be quite an interesting development when they read the entire constitution and republicans say that democrats are welcome to read it with them. host: in just a minute we will get to your calls. if you are a democrat and what to talk about opening of the 112th congress --
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since 1920, there has never been such a large republican freshman class. here are some facts about the incoming freshman class. there are 96 total in this class. over 20% of the new congress will be freshman. 83 are men, 31, 87 republicans, just nine democrats. -- 13 are women. seven of the 96 previously served in the house. most new members were born in the 1950's and 1960's and one was born in 1980, congressman it elect from new york, a republican -- congressman-elect from new york. bob cusack, how many of these members were at tea party- influenced or endorsed? what will be the role of the tea
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party and the tea party caucus? guest: certainly a lot of the candidates embraced the tea party, particularly those in conservative districts. not everybody did, though. certainly some democrats who will be going after these tea party candidates because now, i believe, 31 of the freshmen came from districts that president obama won in 2008 and the total number is 62 republicans that are now in districts that obama won in 2008. so, the tea party is going to have, i think, a major force. this movement is going to continue at least until the next election. we will see after that. but the tea party activists, a lot of them were not pleased with the tax bill republican leader struck in the lame-duck session. i think with presidential politics, the tea party is going to be a force. so when there is a compromise between the white house and congressional leaders -- especially republican
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congressional leaders -- the tea party is going to be loud, and in some ways, that could hurt finding areas of common ground, as john boehner says, he likes to use the word, the ground. and the republican majority likes that. they put freshmen on key committees, powerful committees. they also had a couple of freshman at the leadership table. these are their majority makers and they need to keep them busy. we had an interview with former congressman tom davis, and he said with this type of incoming class, you got to keep them busy. if not, they are going to turn on you. these are some strong-willed members and they are not going to be easily controlled by the wishes of leadership. so, the communication is going to be key. host: from "the washington post" are these three charts. looking ahead already to 2012. a tight races, next election. members who won in 2010 with 5%
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or less of the vote -- 23 democrats and 20 republicans. members in districts that voted for other party's presidential candidate in to douse a day -- there were 12 mccain democrats, and 61 obama republicans, according to "the washington post" research. and endorsed by the tea party express and/or freedom works, 126 are members of congress. larry is a democrat in mississippi. you are on the air. caller: good morning, c-span. the middle-class and the poor are going to be under attack. president obama tried to pass a bill to stop -- republicans and u.s. chamber of commerce stopped. this tells you what is going to happen. thank you, and have a nice day. host: jacksonville, north
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carolina, on the republican line. caller: i think that the new congress is going to be getting back to the constitution and what the constitution is all about. the tea party -- everybody keeps looking at us as if we are some kind of weird animal. but i have been to about three or four tea party gatherings, and basically it is your grandmother, it is your call, church members, educators, -- your uncle, church members, educators, people who want more responsible government. host: independent from pennsylvania. john, good morning to you. caller: i think the first caller had it pretty much right. it did about anything that comes out of the house in the 112th is going to be some court of corporate agenda. they are just going to try to hammer the unions.
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they are going to try to hammer anybody who makes less than one lender thousand dollars a year. and you could do us all a big -- more than $100,000 a year. you could do us all a big favor -- how much time, they spent in the past weeks raising. guest: predictions. the democratic caller not happy about the republican house. the senate is still democrat and the white house obviously has president obama in it. we are back to divided government. we saw with president bush a few years ago where he had a republican congress. the voters didn't like that and they voted out the republicans in congress and then they voted republican out of the white house. here there was some unrest. democrats, a lot of people say, overpromise on a range of issues, including the stimulus and now we are back with a
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divided government with the need for compromise. surprisingly, i think president obama has some political momentum after the lame duck when he got a lot done. you would not have thought that after the shellacking he said he took on november 2. i think there are going to be a lot of deals that are going to be made in the new year, in 2011. i don't know about 2012. but i think a fair amount could get done on education, energy, and trade issues. host: you talk about president obama's political position. we have this tweet that just came in. this is the biggest gain since 1994 for the republicans. any comparison or historical perspective you can add when it comes to president clinton back in 1994 and his "i am still relevance" comments? guest: president obama in his
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post-election press coverage, says some elections feel better than others and is one stung. as far as the difference, president obama still has control of the senate. his colleagues have control. a smaller majority. but that is where legislation either friday or dies, in the upper chamber -- chamber. the matter what the house does -- and it will pass the health care repeal bill but it is likely to die in the senate. i think the comparison is you have seen, like president clinton, he moves to the middle after the 1994 elections. president obama has changed how he has governed in just a short amount of time since the election. you saw it in the lame-duck, the tax-cut deal. a lot of liberals did not like. and his call, really the republican idea, freezing pay for federal workers. there have been some similarities between the two. one thing's week -- one of the republicans have been awarded about, you saw it and senator
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lindsey graham, he thought republicans capitulated to much. in 1996 when republicans wanted to pass a welfare reform bill, that bill was vetoed a two times and that republicans sent it a third time to president clinton. third time was the charm. he signed it, and an adviser to robert dole were not too pleased because it took the issue of the table and, of course, president clinton was easily reelected to a second term. republicans do not want that history to repeat. host: in "the washington post" yesterday was this chart and it shows how congressional membership has changed over the years. it begins with the 64th congress in 1915. 99 republicans were elected that year, for some republicans. the biggest change ever in congress was in the 1932 election. 128 democrats were elected to office. that is the biggest change ever. as you scroll down, you can see
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some historical events and their effect " on congressional membership. 1974 after watergate, 71 democrats took office, president reagan in 1980, 51 republicans gained seats, and in 1994, 73 republicans. right after the 1992 election with bill clinton, 62 democrats. texas. good morning, cindy. caller: i of going to keep an open mind -- i am keeping an open mind. i have been independent since the primaries in 2008, what happened with the decline, my opinion about the sexism and racism that went against her. tea party meetings -- to see how things are because the democrats were over blowing them. but they are more conservative older whites.
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but they made in the state -- they got rid of the conservative democrats and kept the liberal democrats. my other post is, i think yet to pelosi got what she deserved. i think her karma came back to her. she invested in barack obama against hillary clinton and did a lot of the things that hillary democrats cannot forgive on. shot she backed up someone who decided to put money into health care instead of jobs. obama, next to bush, has to be one of the worst president in history for the fact that he just takes too many vacations. he did too much campaigning instead of worrying about getting the economy going. then he sends american businessmen to asia under our taxpaying dollars to get business -- to get harley- davidson to invest in india and those countries instead of here. host: let us leave it there. mary on a republican moderate hattiesburg, mississippi. caller: i hope that senator
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boehner, that he does make a mistake -- if he do, and he don't talk about getting people jobs -- i am republican from mississippi, and i am a black republican and the john boehner comes in and he don't bring no jobs from overseas, the republicans -- host: bob cusack, two calls on jobs. guest: jobs will be a very important for john boehner. republicans are now on the hook. after 3 wave elections -- 2004, not many incumbents lost, 2006, 2008, 2010, wave after wave. unless the economy improves,
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john boehner has to be worried. that is what i have to do now. it is none easy to just create jobs. we saw in the state of the union last year, president obama said his number one priority was jobs, and that was a year ago. still we are at unemployment at 9.8%. the parties have different ideas about how to create jobs. " regardless of what happens between now and then, the unemployment rate has to get down -- or else the republican majority is going to be jeopardized in 2012. host: this tweet -- pennsylvania. mickey on the independent line. caller: i have three short points. i agree with paul krugman about the stimulus not being sufficiently enough. that we should have gone into a much deeper red line
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investments to create sustainable economic spirit and of -- economic investment. the light rail was obstructed by tea party members. the dodd-frank bill, banks are considering increasing rates on the citizens. i consider this unlicensed taxation. dodd and frank decided this was a really good idea. if the banks choose to profiteer of of the citizens, i think their corporate tax rate should be increased to 80%. it is ridiculous. host: bob cusack, what about the future for financial regulation? guest: there will be a lot of hearings. some chatter that republicans certainly will not fund some of the government agencies that have to implement wall street reforms.
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republicans are more aggressive on health care reform as far as the plans -- as far as repealing the healthcare bill, and if that does not work, to defund it. wall street reform, they will be dramatically cutting spending, a top priority for the administration to implement wall street reformed and that is where the white house and republicans, while they might agree on some issues, they are going to clash on that and the implementation of that bill, and, of course, health care reform. host: this tweet -- and this article from "the washington times." obama's base eager to do battle.
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we have not talked about the other chamber, the senate. here are just so quick facts about the 112th congress in the senate. 51 democrats, 47 republicans, and that includes lisa murkowski. a two independents. of that group, at two -- 2 independents that caucus with the democrats.
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what is this article about, bob cusack? guest: they go at it on that the senate floor regularly but they are friendly there have been times where they got into a heated legislative battles and apologized for going too far, harry reid did that a couple of times in the last congress. here we have a situation where harry reid is working with a diminished democratic majority. looking at the next election where 23 democrats are up for reelection and only 10 republicans. mitch mcconnell is actually in decent shape to become majority leader if the bug -- political winds continue to blow on the republican side. but this is a relationship that both these adopted -- guys are dealmakers, legislate wars. some are saying the senate is going to function much better with this type of smaller majority, where harry reid cannot ram a health-care bill
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with 60 democratic votes for those who caucus with democrats. and if there is going to be any type of deal, it's got to be bipartisan. on the other hand you are going to have tea party lawmakers, including senator rand paul, mike leave from utah, who are going to push mcconnell. the tea party movement played a major factor in his decision to embrace an earmark moratorium in the new congress. >host: on c-span2 we will be live with the new senate. they convene at noon. on the agenda, senator tom udall likely to offer a filibuster change resolution to talk about changing the filibuster rules. senator harkin may offer his own. senator mccaskill talking about talking aboutholes in the
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senate. -- will be talking about the secret holes in the senate. guest: last year we did a boca out that even of all the democrats won, he -- last year we did a vote count that even if all the democrats won, it still would not make a difference. a lot of democrats in the upper chamber a long time but think of a filibuster threshold of 60 is fine. democrats say it does not matter whether we are in majority or minority, the senate needs devotion better and therefore we need to lower the threshold of -- the 60-vote threshold is not in the constitution. it has been changed before and it should be changed again. . holds -- on cigarette holds, -- secret holds, but i think that
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has a good chance to be adopted. but on filibuster reforms, they did not have that. host: "washington journal" will be on the air until moon today. then at noon, on c-span 1, gavel-to-gavel coverage of the house, and c-span2, gavel-to- gavel coverage of the opening day of the senate. carl in oxford massachusetts. democrat. caller: good morning, an eye on the air? -- am i on the air. i want to make a comment about the reading of the constitution. i think it is a good idea to have a periodical reading of the constitution and the declaration of independence, but in a sense it is just words on the page. like the bible. you can have different people reading the same thing and they would, with different interpretations. it will just add to the
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confusion and gridlock, i think. that is my comment. host: bob cusack? guest: sales of the constitution have gone up. the republican base has been fired up. we saw that in november. this is something that i think will be continuing, what is constitutional, what is not. you hear from the supreme court, critics of the supreme court or the legislative or executive branch on regulations, you are going to far, it is unconstitutional. we really have not seen this for quite some time, this emphasis on the constitution and certainly the reading of it in the house will be especially unique. host: georgia on the republican line. caller: good morning. i wanted to say i think there is a misconception about the division in the -- when the tax
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extensions came up for a vote -- host: we are listening. caller: sorry? ok. i think there is a misconception, people saying there is a division. my husband and i were willing to forgo the tax extension unless it went for everyone. we are for all americans. we are not specifically for the rich or against the rich. i do not think use a prosecute people for being successful. -- i do not think you should prosecute people for being successful. and i think most americans feel this way. host: oklahoma. michelle on the independent line. caller: good morning. i think the idea of transparency is great. i am just wondering if they will allow cameras inside the commitees, so we can hear what
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they are saying, how the congressman are performing so we can evaluate them for the upcoming next election. as far as the reading of the constitution, i think it is great also. they do have some good ideas, i just think they are somewhat one-sided. if they could expand and broaden it for all americans, i think it is a great idea. host: "the wall street journal" has the new congress by the numbers. we will run through it quickly. in the 11th congress, both the senate and house together, there were 316 democrats. new congress, 246. 289 republicans now, majority of about 43 overall. 219 republicans were indeed 11th. 42 african-americans in the correct, 26 hispanics, 11 agents
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altogether, " one native american, republican of oklahoma. 89 women, one less than 11th. those with college degrees, 507 have college degrees. openly gay, four. the new democratic representative from rhode island is the fourth. 202 of the 535 are attorneys, to render 9 -- 209, banking and business, farmers or ranchers, down to six. the average age has dropped just a little bit from 58.5 to 57.4. the youngest member remains aaron schock, republican of illinois.
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aldus, ralph hall, 87 below this serving member, 55 years to date, remains john dingell. if you cannot get through and you want to participate and you want to try to follow what is going on in congress, the c-span and our social media site has set up more ways for you to get information. our colleague howard mortman is joining us by phone. what it is c-span doing it with the social media aspect of our website and how can people participate? guest: as you said, a big part of what is happening in congress today, in general, is playing out in social media. it is both a what members of congress and senators and representatives are themselves the scene and social media, as well as what reporters are reporting about social media. again, when we are talking about social media, it is basically facebook and twitter, the two
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biggest market leader sites. as part of our coverage of the first day of congress in both the house and senate, c-span is trying to educate our audience as much as we can about what members of congress and reporters are saying and social media. people can find this, starting with c-span.org, we will have links provided by both twitter and facebook. on twitter, we are doing, we have two lists set up. surrealists. 3 lists. one is for representatives tweeting, another is for senators, and others are member of the press. as part of the education and trying to get the big picture of what is happening in the news of the day, you go to these lists and scroll down and watch the news unfold on social media. the other big element, on
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facebook we always pose provocative questions on our facebook page. today we are asking what you expect from the 112th congress. folks can't continue the conversation, watch what is happeningcan -- folks can continue the conversation, watch what is happening. get inhat don't go -- with the calls. to get the temperature of what people are saying. host: howard mortman, it is -- is a kind of like drinking from a fire hose with all the information? guest: the way members of congress have really taken to the social media to get our
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message out. anyone who follows congress and is a political junkie, really, in addition to watching c-span's coverage, really needs to be watching what is unfolding on these sites. drinking from a fire hose is a great metaphor because there is so much news out there. as members of congress know, they want to get beyond what people call the media filter and communicate directly with the people. at c-span we are trying to abrogate all the information and provide it to people and tried to steer fox where they can get the information. a good starting " is our website, c-span.org, and from their web links to everybody. host: on the website you can watch the house and senate live? guest: correct. c-span.org will have live video of what is happening on c-span for the house and sees the need for the senate.
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we have special pages inside c- span.org where we kind of call and continuing the conversation. if you go to our side, we will have links to these interior pages where people can watch the video that is being it is shown on c-span and c-span2, and that is where we will be abrogating the tweets -- members -- aggregating the tweets. we will be to -- searching as well for key terms on twitter -- congress, boehner, pelosi, and so on, so people can see what is being said, what their fellow citizens are saying today. host: a good aggregator of all of these sites. however, one more questions. wired.com had a story -- c-span beware, facebook is coming to congress.
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guest: is coming speaker boehner made news yesterday for live streaming on facebook of the video of today's event. it just so everyone knows, we will have it as well on our facebook page where people can add their comments to what is happening. it is an example of how members of congress, and in a particular, talking about the new members, when you look at the freshman and others who campaigns -- the technical side of the campaigns involve social media. this has been a continuing on through the governor in a -- governing. if you watch how members are using social media to get their messages out, you will see a lot more of that. technical reporters -- you mention wired. they are a tech outlet, very influential, and they will be
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keenly following the developments in congress. look for new announcements and developments from us as well. host: c-span.org is the place to go if you want to know about congress, the aggregation of all of the twitter sites or our facebook page. howard mortman is communications director at c-span. eddie from san francisco on the republican line. caller: thank you very kindly. i am concerned about the fact that since you have the tea party agenda, the conservative agenda, and the independent agenda, i just wonder what the budget cuts -- and what cuts are going to be made by the new congress. the total dollars they are
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talking about cutting and congress, they have a problem, they have to deal with the independents, conservatives, they have to deal with the republican party, and then you have to deal with a republican congress but a democratic senate. how on earth are they going to be able to work together, unless the work together, because you have a present with a veto pen, the senate with the power to overturn what the congress does, so how is this system going to work? host: thank you very much. bob cusack is the managing editor of "the hill" newspaper. bob cusack, if you can address his concerns, and also talk about the proposal to give paul ryan additional power. guest: relationships are key in a capitol hill and we will see some relationships be tested, where you had divided government, and you had john
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boehner having to work a lot more with harry reid in the senate. they did not really have a relationship. they exchanged pleasantries during a lame-duck but as far as the working relationship, i ringing out legislation, they have not had experience and what -- ironing out legislation. the twin president obama and john boehner -- now it will have to be about serious policy making and that will be the key as to whether they will come together, strike deals. we had an upcoming -- have an upcoming vote probably in march about raising the nation's debt limit. a lot of the tea party lawmakers do not want to raise the debt limit. the onus will be a majority party and that will be in the house, the republicans, and john boehner, to raise that, and what kind of deal -- ok, we will raise the debt limit but the white house has to cut spending by x amount. as far as budget committee chairman, that will be paul ryan of wisconsin.
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democrats are saying he is allowed to set the budget parameters of the house. democrats say -- they have criticized the new power that he has. the chairman has always been powerful but the policy set are non-binding, and non- authorizing, they spell out a blueprint. now republican leaders have given paul riot -- paul ryan, a rising star, who addressed the republican national convention in previous years, that he is going to be setting those parameters without going to have a house to vote on it. democrats say it is far too powerful to give that kind of spending authority to paul ryan. but the republicans basically want to get the spending levels back to 2008 levels, and we will certainly see that kind of fight in the continuing resolution passed in the lame-duck. that expires in a couple of months. what are they going to do?
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are they going to continue the continue resolution until the end of the year? john boehner wants to move individual spending bills, not -- not by departments, but agencies, so a lot more spending bills that will be hitting the floor. that will be difficult to accomplish especially when you have last year's spending will still unfinished. host: the next call is rockville, maryland. stone, democrats' line. caller: it sounds more like opening day of a broadway musical or some opening of elite frat boys keg party. you can keep all of the fluff. i just want to see results. and i think a lot of de young, over privileged young people coming in and the new guys -- a lot of the young, over privilege
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young people coming in and the new guys, they will be scratching their heads and say, why did i do this. you will see the same gridlock. talking about reading the constitution but something i do respect, however, most of the constitution and today's the so- called society, to make, and i am just high-school educated individual, is more or less a colonial relic. host: bob cusack. guest: the number one thing is going to be the economy and the jobless rate. there is so much anger out there. and if you are in the majority party, republicans are not going to be able to blame democrats for a variety of things because at least they have one chamber of congress. they are going to have to make the case. house republican leaders are going to have to make the case that their bills are going to change the nation's state and the unemployment rate and all
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this will be on them. what we saw in the last congress is house democrats, many times they blamed the senate and they blamed senate republicans for not moving bills that they pass. over 400 bills the democratic house passed the not pass in the senate. but politically that strategy didn't work and house democrats were ousted in november. host: bob cusack, how long of a honeymoon will the republicans get in the house? guest: in some ways, i think they are going to have it for at least a couple of months. but in other ways, it depends on how they govern. they are already being criticized for this health care repeal bill hitting the floor next week, for not allow amendments to that measure. they say we are going to repeal the health care bill and that we will have the committee's work and amendments will be allowed as they tried to craft a new health care reform bill at the committee level. democrats and others are criticizing republicans for not
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allowing amendments. they said they would be more open than democrats. an amendment should be allowed next week, should not be a closed rule on the health care reform bill. in some ways, the honeymoon may be over. the heavy lifting starts today. and i think john boehner -- we wrote a story that john vana's transition from minority leader to speaker when it's pretty smoothly -- john boehner's transition from minority leader has gone pretty smoothly. host: wayne, republican. caller: thank you for c-span. maine has a republican governor, senate, and house, since 1964. in regards to the constitution, reading the constitution to a liberal is like reading of the bible to an atheist. thank you. host: we will move on to daniel from tampa, florida, on the independent line. what are your thoughts?
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caller: i would like to say thank you for having me on c- span. i am kind of astonished about the missing for viewers who want to talk about eight years of failed policies when the last four years we have had nothing but democratic rule. they are going to complain about no and then minutes, when the republicans will not allow amendments for basically the last four years. i looking for the republicans to take advantage, pass bills out of the house and many democrats are up for reelection in 2012, and this will show us who they are in the senate that need to be replaced. we can't sustain $14 trillion in debt, and this is largely due to the democratic party and here we have a controlling the message saying the republicans have to fix the debt. we have $5 trillion debt in two years added we had a democratic president and democratic rule.
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republicans just need to hold their guns, repeal the health care and stand by their ground and this will show us who is to give the senate so we can replace them in 2012. thank you. host: wants is a democrat in conway, pennsylvania. -- marty is a democrat. caller: this country would have more than enough money to help with the jobs, their health care, and the education, if they would tax the rich accordingly the way they tax the working class and the poor. that said, until we get the house and the senate together on working for the whole of this country and not just the rich and powerful, which i think are now running the country because, for instance, wall street and a mortgage crisis -- all the corruption and fraud, there was not one indictment. what does that tell you? like i said, i wish this country
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a whole lot of luck because we are in trouble. and if it continues the way it is, fighting over stock that don't need to be fought over, it is an easy fix. just roll up the sleeves and get the job done. thank you very much. host: thank you for calling in. bob cusack, and comments? guest: the tax debate we saw in the lame-duck session will be continuing. president obama said he looks forward to the tax reform debate, he wants to reform the tax code and he is looking forward to that debate, most of which had been will come at the end of 2011. that deal they struck in the lame-duck extended for two years. generally speaking, most believe that republicans got the best of that deal because the extent of the bush tax cuts, not the $250,000 income threshold that president obama it embraced. the tax debate will continue and mitch mcconnell said in the senate that he would welcome that debate and he thinks it is great to have that debate because republicans believe they
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won that debate last year and they think they would love to have that debate going into a presidential. host: we started this program showing a scene from 2007 when john boehner gave the gavel to nancy pelosi. how will today be different than in january 2007 when nancy pelosi became speaker? guest: john vana's speech back then was very gracious. -- john boehner's speech back then was very gracious. his political comeback was getting after ousted from republican leadership in the late 1990's. now it is pelosi giving him the gavel. pelosi and baylor, they did not see eye to eye on many issues as far as policy but they have a good working relationship -- pelosi and boehner. let's suppose, i am sure, will give him a warm speech and give him the gavel. but of course, her main goal is getting the gavel back in two years. host: but one thing we have not
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talked about is the potential of democrats voting against the nets a policy to be their leader. -- nancy pelosi to be their leader. guest: they all supported her for speaker in the last congress. all republicans are expected to support john boehner today. as you know, peter, there was some dissension with nancy pelosi's leadership and he's schuler challenged her and he did not win. did not expect to win. i think that will be an interesting vote to watch as far as publicly. who will some of these remaining blue dogs, including heath shuler, who will they vote for? maybe they both present. we have seen that in prior years. i do not think all democrats will support it's a policy today. most of the well, though. host: bob cusack is managing editor of "the hill" newspaper. thank you for being on "washington journal." about a fifth of the incoming
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house freshmen -- a fifth of the incoming 112th congress will be freshman members. 96 total freshman members. over 20%. 83 are men, 13 are women. 35 are first-time office holders. seven have previously served in the house. most of the new members coming in were born in the 1950's and 1960's. one was born in 1980, and the republicans gained 63 seats in the 2010 elections. one of those nine new democrats coming into office is representative-elect karen bass of the 33rd district of los angeles. she is replacing diane watson, who has retired. congresswoman elect bass. you are for speaker of the assembly in california and now you are coming to washington to
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be one out of 435 in the min ority as a freshman member. how do you compare the two? guest: frankly, of course, i would prefer coming in as a majority but i have to tell you, being one of 435 feels just fine. the idea that i am able to come here it i think is an absolute honor. sitting and never with people whom i have read about for a good part of my life and their accomplishments. so i feel very honored, humble, and ready to learn. host: as speaker of the assembly in california, you will the quite a bit of power. how do you compare it to speaker of the house? guest: i do have to tell you, the two years i was speaker of california, it felt like that considering i was at leadership at the time of our worst economic crisis. but i just think this job is absolutely huge. i am fortunate i have had that experience. but the experience of being speaker of the house for the entire country, i am not sure
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about the comparison. host: what is your agenda? guest: personally -- and i think it is the agenda of most people here -- we really do have to be concerned, number one, about the economy. the unemployment rate is still way too high. we know the recession is over. the recovery has been slow. leaving my colleagues back in california, we still have a record a deficit. there are issues that i have worked on historical, like foster care and education reform. and i plan to continue working on those issues. host: karen bass is our guest, representative-elect of the 33rd district of los angeles. what is diane watson doing these days? guest: diane watson, first of all, has been such a hero and mentor to me over these years. she is going to continue to be very active in the community. i think that the city of los angeles will not really allow her to retire. what she does from here -- i
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know she will continue to be a prominent, well-regarded leader. host: 202 is the area code if you want to call in -- oscar is a republican from roanoke, virginia. caller: good morning, peter, and happy new year. i and not every fan of c-span. i watch it a lot. [laughter] i want to welcome karen also to be participating in the new congress. i wanted to ask bob cusack this question -- to point my finger and wag. the media has responsibility for shaping events. i think we can all agree. one thing i would like to have seen a lot more light shone on, and, karen, please pay attention to this point, the passage of --
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process of passing legislation, like 1500 pages or 1200 pages, and insisting, absolutely insisting that it has to be passed in 48 hours or the earth is going to stop spinning, and no one has read it, this is a practice that you and i and our families would we make buying decisions, we don't make decisions based on, you are going to like it. host: we got a point and we will get our guests to respond. can i ask, if you don't like c- span, why do you watch it? you said you don't like c-span. why do you watch it all the time? caller: i want to say how much we are leaning. it just seems to be -- you had a lot of good points about current events, things we should pay attention to, but it just seems like it has a very liberal slant to it. and i know that you tried hard not to. but sometimes he can't help yourself. i forgive you for that. we need two different parties
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and arguments. host: thank you for calling in at thank you for watching even if you don't like us. karen bass, transparency, part of what i oscar was speaking to, that is part of the rules package that will be voted on this afternoon. what are your thoughts? guest: i think transparency is very important, but as i understand it, we will actually be taking votes that the 72 or the 48 hours have not taken place. i know that is part of the intent of the new leadership. i think it is going to be very important to hold them accountable. having said that, i certainly received that criticism in sacramento, and i think part of it is a little confusing in terms of the process, the legislative process. it might be that the bill is in print for 48 hours, but we have actually spent months going through it in committee, so it is not like it is a brand new document. so, i think it will be a challenge. we will see what the leadership does. i know they are holding themselves to a high standard.
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i am not exactly sure whether the standard will be kept. but we will say. host: given your experience as speaker of the california assembly and looking for that transparency, what do you think is the best way to get the information out to the public in a semi-user friendly way? guest: i think it needs to be released to the public and a lot of different ways. i really do not think the public wants to a 1000-bill to read, but it should be accessible through the internet. also the legislation to be translated into common english so people also understand that. so, given all of the ways we have media here, i think it needs to be true -- distributed in every single way. over the internet, people should be able to come in and pick up a hard copy of they want. i think it is important people have access. host: you have experience working in divided government. former gov. schwarzenegger, republican, you are a democrat. what was your experience with gov. schwarzenegger? guest: well, he was always very
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cordial and respectful and he faced a challenge. he came in with a huge ideas, and then he came in and the economy crashed. so i think a lot of the ideals he brought to the table -- for example, he wanted to look at ways, fraud, abuse -- i believe that some of my republican colleagues coming in with some of the same bold ideas, that they will come in and find $100 billion of waste just kind of sitting in a hallway, and it will be easy to extract and get rid of. i think he found it was much more complicated than that. of course, he had to face the economic crisis, as we all did. host: one more question about your experience. what is your advice to incoming speaker boehner burqa with a democratic senate and president. guest: i know speaker-to-be boehner had years of experience and came in and was part of the leadership years ago so i am i sure i have much advice to offer him. but i do believe and hope that
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his main objective is to get something accomplished and to get our economy on track. i do have to say that one of the things i took great pleasure in, the last time the speaker was sworn in, was watching it speaker pelosi. i had the opportunity to learn from our leadership as the first woman in u.s. history to lead the house and the challenge and responsibility that i felt as the second woman in california to have that responsibility. i've learned a lot from her. host: i presume you know nancy pelosi pretty well. guest: i do. i would not say i know her very well. after i was sworn in, she invited me here and put on a reception and really embraced me. i have looked to how she led to provide experience and guidance to myself. host: have you had a chance to
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meet john boehner yet? guest: i have not. i did meet republican leader in california when i was the majority whip. we had a great working relationship and i hope that will translate -- host: have you had a chance to talk to him? guest: after the election, i had a chance to talk to him and congratulate him on the election. caller: i have a lot of concerns. my biggest question right now is why in the world can't we, after we vote and the people have spoken, and the people get in with their democrat, republican, green, independent, whatever, why can't we stop the division of parties and work as intelligent people with integrity and with openness, as
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much as we possibly can? everyone there i presume has higher education and have been in leadership in many different ways. why can't we stop this fighting and at this bickering and acting like tv -- and acting like t- year olds? >guest: i certainly hope so we can. i do have to say that i am not exactly sure that it sets the best tom, that the leadership comes in and the best order of business is to repeal health care reform. number one, we know that it will not succeed. i am concerned that if we start with symbolic actions like that, that will delay us getting down to the business of trading jobs. if it is certainly going to be
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the message that i carry. i appreciate your questions and concerns. host: 53 members are women. 32 of them are democrats. illinois, jim is on our democrats line. caller: good morning. congratulations. guest: thank you. caller: i just feel like i am the only one who lived to the last decade. they passed the tax cuts for the wealthy so it would create jobs here, and they have not created any jobs at all, but then they extend them because we cannot squelch the job makers. they have created a lot of jobs overseas but they have now created anything here. it is just ridiculous.
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i am on disability, and i have a $38,000 lump-sum that went back three years. when they attacked me, i had to pay $25,000 of it back. whyn't really understand everybody thinks the rich people need more tax breaks. i feel like everybody should pay their way in this country. they are getting by very easy. it guest: i certainly agree with you. how i hated to see the tax breaks extended for the wealthiest in our society -- i hated to see the tax breaks extended for the wealthiest in our society. i do think what is most important of the tax breaks for the middle-class, for people like you and i and others who are listening. i think over the last few years, we have seen -- not the
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last few years, the last year. we have seen an increase in jobs but we have so much more to go. caller: good morning. you used the word "symbolic action." it concerns me that this new congress wants to begin the session with the reading of the constitution. these people should know the constitution by now, and at this strikes me as being a media gimmick or a photo opportunity. guest: i think that is an issue that should be taken up with a new leadership coming in. i have some concerns about that as well. i know when we raise our hands, we are swearing to the constitution. why we would need to read it -- it is a question that i think should be directed towards the new leadership. host: do you see any areas where you would agree with or work
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with the tea party caucus and the members who are supported by the tea party? guest: i certainly hope and believe that people who come into this job, people that went to the effort of running, come in with a sincere desire to make our society better obviously we have different ideas to go about that but i hope there are areas where we can find common ground. i will certainly look to that. one of the things i try to do was look for those issues where we can agree on and understand there will be many other issues that we cannot. i think it is important to not personalize things in this job. i think encouraging my new colleagues, especially the ones who have not been in public office before, again, there might be things that we disagree on the town of line we will find
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things to agree on. host: we have seen the loss of personal relationships of people on capitol hill. what are your thoughts about that? guest: i think we have to actively pursue those relationships. with the new class coming in, we spent a week to get their of harvard. we are going to be going for trading this weekend in williamsburg. a those are opportunities for us to get together. i am going to seek out my republican colleagues host: tony is on our independent line. go ahead. caller: good morning. i think it is strange when i hear congress say they want to create jobs yet they refuse to get rid of the mechanism to send jobs overseas.
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and they continue to reward corporations who send their jobs overseas with tax cuts. then you talk about improving the economy but refused to talk about the pentagon budget. they account for $4 trillion with a 't'. the pentagon budget is off the table. not only that, the increase in the budget so they are given more money still. guest: i don't think the defense budget should be off the table. i think everything should be on the table. i know how i am going to be looking there when it comes to that. i will take my colleagues at the word in reducing the deficit. if they are interested in reducing the deficit, as i have to look at spending as well. host: your thoughts on committee
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assignments? guest: i want to continue to work on an issue that is absolutely critical -- transportation. serving on the transportation committee would be a bigot vintage. i am hoping to do that. in my desk -- i am hoping to serve on the transportation committee and that would be a big advantage. serving on foreign affairs would certainly be a benefit to me. host: bob is on our republican client. -- line. i think bob is gone. roberta from new jersey. caller: center for taking my call. you talked about john boehner working with the democrats. i really don't think that is going to happen. it is just not going to happen.
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my question, are my comments to you, especially on health care, he wants to demolish health care, anything the president obama has done he wants to demolish. i wanted to say one thing. the people of their who own their own health care, people like me and my husband who have to pay out of pocket, we have seen significant savings this year. every year, our health insurance company has raised our rates 30% to 35%. this year, it only went up 10%. i know in the health-care bill it said something in there that health-care companies could not raise their rates more than 10% or else they would have to explain and prove why the height of it made sense to them. there is something good coming out of -- i want people to hear
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me, that there is something good that is coming out of this health-care bill. and the republicans are scouring every one and saying it is not good, it is not good. for someone like a middle-class family like us who pay out-of- pocket, it this year, it only went up 10%, and we don't have to switch health insurance. every year, which had to find a health insurance so we could have a deductible of $5,000. itt: roberta, let's leave there. guest: you raise a very important point. if health care was repealed, which we know it is not going to happen, we would be turning it back over to the insurance companies, and they could raise rates to whatever they would choose to do. the idea that you have a pre- existing condition -- say you lose your job and you have had a cancer in the past, you are not
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eligible for health insurance anymore? now you can have insurance. we are supposed to tell parents who reached the age of 23 and now they can extend their coverage to 26, we have to tell them we have to take that back? there are a lot of things like that in this bill better going into effect right away. if repealed, which would be taking those benefits away from people. i think is the message that has to get out there. i don't think it is important for us to focus on something that would be symbolic right now, when again, i think the most important issue people are facing right now is the unemployment rate. host: what is your schedule today after the house convenes at noon? guest: we have the swearing in which a believe will last two hours. then i think we will have some procedural votes after that.
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i am gathering all of my friends and family who have traveled 3,000 miles to come here. it will be in my office. i am putting on a reception for all those folks who came out out of town. host: what does your new office look like? guest: i am on the fourth floor. the way they determine the of this is i thought was really good. it was just a blind growing. -- drawing. host: representative-elect karen bass, a center for being on -- thank you for being on the "washington journal." of the picture on your screen right now is of the cannon house office building that karen bass just referred to.
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this is the rotunda in that office building. you can see the media getting set up to do interviews. that is some of the activity that is going on right now in the canon rotunda over on the house side of the aisle. coming up in a minute, two congressional scholars. number one, donald ritchie, a senate historian will be was up -- will be with us. as well as norman ornstein from the american enterprise institute. we will continue to take your phone calls. we will be right back.
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>> both of the house and senate devil in to date to begin to 112th congress. -- both the house and the senate will gavel in today to begin the 112th congress. the gop holds 142 seats -- 242 seats up with the democrats at
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193. follow the house, live today as always here on c-span. when the senate also gavels in today, they will start with a live a quorum for the swearing- in of newly elected senators. democrats remain in control with 51 members and two independents. republicans picked up six seats. democrat harry reid and republican mitch mcconnell keep their positions as party leaders. the chamber has 16 new senators coming to washington, 13 republicans and three democrats. follow the senate, live on c- span2. if you missed any of today's opening session in the u.s. house, we will read. tonight beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern -- we will reair it tonight beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern.
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>> for these children, our children, and for all of america's children, the house will come to order. >> with the start of the new congress, look back at the opening of past sessions online at disease and video library with every program since 1987, more than 160,000 hours. it is washington, your way. house republicans have announced they will begin debate on a bill that repeals health care legislation passed last year and signed into law by president obama. that debate starts this friday with a final vote scheduled for wednesday, january 12. go to c-span.org to read a copy of that resolution being considered this week, and follow the house, live here on c-span,
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and the senate on c-span2. >> "washington journal" continues. host: we have a senate historian, donald ritchie, joining us, as well as congressional scholar norman ornstein. help us with a little historical perspective -- divided government, a big win for the house, the republicans and the house, a democratic senate and a democratic president. guest: it is unusual to have an election where one house goes to another party and the other stays the same, but it is important that divided government is far from normal in our adult lifetimes and then a united government. what is interesting about this new group coming in, this is after three consecutive wave elections. the first two, going in the same
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direction, you have to go back to the early 1930's when democrats won more than 20 seats in the house, it was almost inevitable that we would have a swing back. a wave of this shortfall -- this sharp for republicans is quite extraordinary. so, i suspect that the new people coming in and new speaker john boehner are going to be cognizant of the reality that voters are not going to give them a lot of time to see that things get better. host: what do we know about john boehner's management style? guest: john boehner is probably somewhat closer to his republican predecessor than newt gingrich. he tries to do more things behind the scenes and then of
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front in public. he is delegating a great deal of power to other lieutenants in this process, both within the leadership, including of course the top team of eric kanter and kevin mccarthy, but also to commit the leaders. how long that lasts a that way will be an interesting process. but also, for john boehner who has a law career, and then being dumped at a time when the republicans went through a great turmoil before it knew to gingrich left the leadership, when you have to say is that this is a very determined and persistent man. you do not fall off that ladder, get up and heal broken bones, get back on, and then rise in this fashion with a pretty strong backbone.
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host: also joining us is donald ritchie. one of the things the senate is going to do today is look at the filibuster rules. has it ever change? guest: is changed a lot. in the first congress, there was a reference to one of the senators, trying to talk a bill to death. even before they had a filibuster, the day were filibustering. we've begun to see in the 19th century the filibuster. very early and its history, the larger house set of very tight limits on how long a person could speak. the senate has always believed in an unlimited debate. after a while, you need to limit on the mid debate. they have come up with ways to try to do -- after a while, you unlimited debate.limit
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there have been other modifications over time. the senate rules are altered in various ways, and the precedents are changed in the senate. we have very few rules and thousands of precedents. it is an interesting institution to watch procedurally. host: what are the arguments for and against changing the filibuster rule? guest: , one of the arguments is in the constitution does not require majorities of foreboding. in fact, the vote in the senate is a majority vote. the constitution actually requires super majorities for a variety of things, including an overturning of a veto or convicting a person who has been in peak in the house. it allows the senate and house
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to write a their own rules. over time, the larger house wrote the rules for the larger majority to get their way. it is not just the minority party. it is often been a minority faction within in the minority party. sometimes it is just one senator who objects. that gives an enormous amount of individual power to an individual senator. some are saying voters expect them to do this and this is obstruction. in fact, both parties have argued on both sides of this debate, depending on the majority or the minority. host: i don't think we will get an opinion from you, but i bet we can get an opinion from norman ornstein. guest: just one caveat. there was not unlimited debate
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in the first congress. the senate had a rule that allowed to move the previous question. it got taken out almost inadvertently a couple of congress's later. there were some things that were extraneous. they did our realize what they have done, really for a couple of decades. then it became almost impossible to put it back in. it is not as if the framers started with the saying we want a body with an unlimited debate. i believe there is a need for reform. it is also much of that the rules themselves are awful. it is the culture has changed, the use of the filibuster has become something very different than what we saw in earlier decades. it used to be that filibusters were employed extremely rarely
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for issues of great national significance where the minority were willing to bring everything to a halt. now, filibusters are almost routine. only to use up time and drag out debate. the cleaning up a little bit to restore the original purpose, not eliminate it but make it what it was, i think is in order. host: any follow up? guest: i would agree with the general description but whether or not it is actually used -- one reason they dropped it, it did not seem to apply at that time. it was only after that it was dropped that the house began to realize how valuable the previous question was. the senate rules are a matter of debate.
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it is quite interesting now that senators are going back to 1917- type are doing. host: there is a third-party we want to bring into this conversation. matthew wasniewski, thank you for being on the phone with us. when and how did you get your job? guest: thank you for having me on. i found out october -- host: how that process go? guest: the process started in the spring of 2010 when the former historian announced his retirement. speaker nancy pelosi appointed an academic search committee of outside academics of public historians to come up with a job description and do a job search.
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i had been working in the house for the better part of 10 years as an historian in the office of the car. host: dr., will your job continue with the new republican leadership? discoed yes, it will. it was an appointment by speaker nancy pelosi, but john boehner confirmed the appointment. host: can you speak about the changing power or role of the speaker of the house? guest: sure. in the early era, in the early 1800's, the founders i think had originally conceived the speaker as being an impartial traffic cop who would monitor the flow of debate on the floor and make rulings from the chair. what very quickly evolved, and henry clay is a very good early
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example, elected speaker of the house on 1811, a very charismatic individual, he very quickly turned the speakership into a party leadership position. it very effectively moved legislation through the house. that system evolved throughout the 19th century. in the late 19th century, very interesting characters, one from illinois.d reid revolutionized of the rules in the 1890's. essentially, the speaker had unlimited power -- chair of the rules committee, made all the appointments for all committee assignments in the house,
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presiding officer, party leader -- that was certainly the pinnacle of the power of the speaker. that changed in 1910 with a revolt against joe cannon, which insurgent republicans and democrats combined to strip him of his chairmanship of the rules committee. for many decades, that power flowed downward and outward to committee chairs but it became consolidated again. host: who consolidated that? disco it was the affect of reforms -- guest: it was an effect of reforms. policy-making power or control floated back upward toward the house leadership. it has occurred gradually over the course of a number of
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decades, and the speaker still has tremendous control over the rules committees so that is a very powerful facet of the speakers at tool kit, to influence and direct legislation. host: matthew wasniewski is the house historian. we appreciate you joining us for a few minutes. one more question. the of fact and the power of the tea party caucus and the tea party endorsed members, the freshman class coming in. guest: this freshman class is a full third of the majority. we are really talking about an extraordinary amount of leverage that new members have it. the vast majority were deeply involved themselves, and you have a significant number of members who jumped on the tea party bandwagon, the ones who got out front fastest.
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michelle bacchus's attempt twas not successful on, but they are in major driving force now. they are a force that is both a plus and minus four john boehner. it propelled him to the speakership. it right after the election, he warned his new members coming in that there were going to be moments with it would have to swallow hard and the grown-ups. one of those was of the vote that will occur in a couple of months or so on the deb ceiling being reached. he may have significant headaches with those who voted on increasing the debt ceiling. host: donald ritchie, the 112th senate coming.
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47 republicans, two independ ents. historically, that is a pretty close margin. how has the work in the past? guest: it is more of an average. it has been 30 years since either party has had a 60-vote margin. you have to go back to the 1970's. 55 has been the average in between. that means the majority party has got to find some people on the other side who will support them on issues to get over the 60-vote limit. we have operated the government for the last 60 years under those circumstances. it may be very different atmosphere in the congress because in this last congress, there was a tremendous amount of pressure to not be the 60th vote.
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no one is going to be the 60th vote this time. it is going to have to be five or seven senators to join the majority. the majority may require more to come together. it is going to take a different type of mathematics to get things through. host: the power of the senate majority leader compared to the speaker of the house. guest: i have heard many lament that they are not the speaker of the house. senator reid has said many times he wished he was the speaker of the house. the rules committee in the house really determines the length of debate, the number of amendments, how and when they are going to vote. those in the senate have no real control over similar situations. host: the power of mitch mcconnell opposed to harry reid.
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guest: mitch mcconnell had extraordinarily amount of leverage partly because of the approach that was used, to pull his minority together in an almost hysterically unprecedented fashion, to use the leverage of 40 plus. it really be deviled harry reid a lot. it is somewhat of a different role for mitch mcconnell because the house is controlled by republicans. i think we will see a different strategy. ford matched mcconnell, who made his now famous comment in a speech at the heritage foundation, that the number one political goal was to make barack " -- was to make barack obama a one-term president, means his role becomes a differnet one. host: you have been very
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patient. you are on the air. tracy, are you with us? caller: i have a couple of comments. thank you so much. host: you have to turn that volume down. deborah is in dallas. caller: in counterpoint of the gentleman who does not like c- span, i wrote would like to say that i start every day with you there because i do not like being at the mercy of cable tv news. i think c-span is one of the greatest innovations of cable. brian is a genius. my question is for norman ornstein. i would like to tell you, sir,
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you are one of those people i dropped everything to watch when you are on tv, and i know it. thank you for being there to answer my questions. i would like to know with the restricted democrat minority, how many blue dogs and the conservative democrats are left to conceivably breakoff with republicans. i would also like to know -- house rules committee meetings used to be open and televised in the 1990's. in the last few years, i know they have been closed. with the new rules, i would like to know whether they will be accessible to the public. host: thank you. guest: i agree with you on c- span, and dawn bryant as well. the answer to the first question
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-- the blue dogs caucus was decimated in the election. they lost almost two-thirds of their members. they are still a significant -- there is still a significant number left. you may get a few others who joined the caucus as much as for strategic reasons than anything else. when no the republicans will be targeting them to try to induce them to come over and give them at least a bipartisan subpoena on some of the votes that they cast. keep in mind, the blue dogs who survived the tsunami of the last election are probably not inclined to make some of those alliances. on the rules committee, we have a pledge for more openness coming from the incoming speaker john boehner. many of their contentious rules
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debates were conducted at 1:00 in the morning or 3:00 in the morning. they would not have any reporters willing to comment. that presumably is not going to be the case. we are supposed to have some notice before and the markup of the rules. i don't think we are going to see television, c-span even, in there on a regular basis. we are going to have to rely on reports. host: whenever we can get in that small room, wheat get in there. tracy from omaha, go ahead with your comments. caller: i have a couple of things. i like to say that i think obama is doing an excellent job. he gets things done. he literally rolls up his sleeves. i like that. ok. what to want to talk about is the repeals. basically, what is happening is
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coming in this economy right now, in this recession, everybody out here working hard are being held through -- being held to a very high standard. you have to be there on time, work your tail off and probably make less money than you are used to. here you have republicans wanting to repeal everything that the democrats accomplished in the last two years. i remember when they were all sitting there speeches and stuff, the ones who wanted to get elected, they were saying we need to concentrate on jobs. the other thing is -- well -- host: let's leave it there. guest: the framers of the constitution anticipated shifts.
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they wanted the government to be smooth sailing. one of the ways to deal with that was to cushion the u.s. senate. while every member of the house ran and confronted in the public opinion, only one-third of senators were up for election, meaning 2/3 to continue on. they reflected very different forms of public opinion. that means a muted situation. that has always required a certain amount of compromise and moderation in opinions, despite the fact that people are responding to their constituencies. guest: of course we know their first real substantive move next week that house republicans said they are going to do is a vote on the health care reform care act. it very likely will pass.
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the commitment that incoming speaker john boehner has made it goes out the window on this one. there will be no amendments allowed. if you add to that the list of things that they want to roll back, republicans are going to have to have a nice balance to make sure they focus on jobs. outgoing speaker nancy pelosi has a piece in the paper today where she talks about how they want to cooperate especially on jobs. we will see an interesting interplay with the desire to push back what is happened in the last two years. host: unfortunately, our time is short. norman ornstein, congressional scholar. donald ritchie, resident scholar and u.s. senate historian. thank you.
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there is a bipartisan the service going on at this church. this is a live picture. this service begins at 9:00 a.m. this morning parade of both john boehner and nancy pelosi are scheduled to attend. as we continue our coverage of the opening of the 112 congress, "washington journal" will beon the air until noon. then the circumstances and the substance began in the house at noon on c-span and in the senate at noon on c-span to. coming up next, senator-elect jerry moran of kansas. >> starting shortly on c-span2,
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42 members of the congressional black caucus will take part in a swearing in even. we will hear remarks from the incoming chair and incoming house minority leader nancy pelosi. the congressional black caucus foundation is the host of this event, and you can see it live at starting at 9:00 a.m. eastern. a little bit later, we will go live to the old senate chamber in the u.s. capitol. all members will be officially sworn into office on the senate floor before that time, but this is swearing in is for family members as well. you concede the ceremony live today, starting at 1:00 p.m. eastern on c-span3. right after that, we will go to the rayburn house office building on capitol hill where house members will to the exact same thing that starts at 2:00 p.m. eastern also on c-span3.
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>> for these children, our children, and for all of america's children, the house will come to order. >> look back at the opening of past sessions, online at the seized in a video library. with every c-span program since 1987, more than 160,000 hours, all free, it is a washington, your way. the house plans to vote later today on a proposed new rules package to govern legislative procedures in this session. several focus on reducing the budget deficit as well as making information about house proceedings more available to the public electronically. see the vote on that measure later today here on c-span. with the house voting, democratic senators are expected
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to present their plan to restructure the filibuster rules later today. both senators have released statements, criticizing what they perceive as the republican misuse of the filibuster which is used to block or delay action on legislation. the proposal aims to limit when and how the filibuster can be used. republicans say they have used the filibuster because majority leader harry reid is on willing to allow amendments to certain bills that come to the floor. >> "washington journal" continues. host: one of the 16 new senators is jerry moran, former longtime congressman from kansas. senator, welcome and congratulations to you. right before we can on, i was about to refer to you as senator-elect but you said no.
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guest: as of january 3, senator- elects became seantors. -- senators. host: one of the first things you will be looking at in the senate is changing the rules on filibustering. we discussed that a little bit with donald ritchie. what are your thoughts? guest: i think the senate is designed to be that body. each member ought to have a great ability to influence the outcome of the debate, what is debated, and the vote determines what legislation is passed. as a member of the senate, from a very rural state, kansas, the rules seem to protect the minority. i consider myself very much a member of the minority in taking
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care of interest of very small rural states like kansas. i think it would be presumptuous -- i am interested in hearing the debate, but it would be very presumptuous of me on day one to make a decision to dramatically changed the senate rules. my inclination is why i'm not supporting that. i think those rules are to protect members of the senate like me and to protect people who have a different point of view. these rules have been in place hysterically for a long time. host: one of the arguments in favor of changing the rules is that the filibuster has become a 60-0 vote senate and every single piece of legislation gets a good luck in getting to that 60-0 vote margin even if democrats or republicans have a majority. guest: i think gridlock can serve a purpose. it is not always bad. i am here to legislate.
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i want members of congress the ability to influence -- to introduce legislation and offer amendments. offering an amendment is a pretty rare thing and the house of representatives. my ability and the house was generally limited to one minute or two minutes on the house floor. i think, from my ability to represent people in kansas and america, we are in good shape. host: john boehner is just entering the church for the prayer service that begins at 9:00 a.m. that was mrs. john boehner following him. this is a live picture. no cameras are allowed in the church service. we do have senator jerry moran,
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republican of kansas, one of 16 new senators. guest: that is a significant change. i think you will see a bit of a different senate. i will be a part of that new blood in the senate. i have respect for the traditions and the rules of the senate, but i do want to see that we have a voice of the people in the senate. i think that is what elections are about. i want to make certain what they think the direction the electorate's suggested in november is carried forward, which is less government, smaller expenditures, balancing the budget, the things that many of your guests will talk about, and a focus on the economy. a better word for that is "jobs." host: were to join in the caucus -- would you join the
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caucus? guest: i think it is a good development for the country. all of my experience comes from being in the tea party in kansas. i do 60 -- i conducted a town hall meeting in each of the counties that comprise my house district. what i have experienced in the two-party -- these are just normal, everyday, average americans who have a genuine concern about the future of their country. my experience has been nothing but that being the case. so, the tea party, i think, as is it a bigger role to play in it reformulating the way that elected officials in washington, d.c., look at the future of our country, so that the party to me is a positive thing host: chicago, go ahead, carl.
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caller: i am calling this morning because -- i hate to say this. i am a liberal democrat. i have respect for other people, even conservatives. over the last 10 years or so, i have a somewhat broader hatred for conservatives. like today, in the house, they are going to repeal the constitution. you are going to take the oath of office, and in that both, you are going to swear to more or less protect the constitution. the thing about the constitution in this country is acting in good faith. you can of the house -- you came out of the house totally acting not in good faith.
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all all of these conservatives have come to do right now is seek out power and have no concern of the government. anyone else who happens to get elected who is not conservative, you see them as somehow imposters. host: we got the point. thank you. guest: first of all, i have been a house member during president obama's administration. there have been very few votes that i cast supportive of the president's position, but it has nothing to do with the fact that the president is a democrat. i strongly agree -- disagree with the health care reform bill. it does not matter whether it is a republican or democrat president.
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bad ideas are bad ideas. my voting record indicates i have found from time to time that the bush administration had a bad ideas. i try to be pretty consistent that the government is too big and the deficit is unmanageable. it is perhaps a philosophical position that i take. i would also say i certainly don't take the attitude, that i have a god-given right to serve or be in the majority. from my perspective, i am very fortunate to be a member of the house. i also have great respect for those who have a different point of view. that is what this congress is all about. i would never expect us to come together an agreement. it just because a person degrees with me, i don't think any less of them. in fact, i tried to learn from
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other people, whether conservative, liberal, or moderate, i have something to learn from every conversation that i have predicted this is not me believing that i have all the answers. we are here in this congress, 100 senators in my case, to see if we can resolve what is good for the country and do so in a way that abides by the constitution. you indicated in your comment that we are no longer abiding by the constitution. our oath is to make sure the constitution matters. within that framework, we must discover what is good for the country from the constitution. host: do you support tax reform and will you introduce similar legislation in the senate? guest: i support tax reform and in the house i have been a
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sponsor of this legislation called bear tax. individuals make decisions based upon what the tax code says, not what is in their best interest as a business person, as a father, or as the head of household. we make decisions in our life based upon what the tax code says. that restricts us. i think we have a great ability to grow the economy by getting a tax code that allows for growth in businesses. i have a different idea than the current tax code, but i am open to suggestions about how to dramatically change the current tax code. host: jerry, are you with us? caller: yes, i am.
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i have four issues social security, medicare, and medicaid needs to be looked at. no. 2, it is not health care reform. it is health care insurance reform. no. 3, if we are against the rich and hope the poor will become rich, will we then be against them? we lost a 104-year-old company to china. i am so glad to hear that they went to church this morning. with closed captioning, every time you say historical, it comes up as a terrible. guest: that is good to know. i try to pay attention to history. i have a long list of things.
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host: nancy pelosi is now arriving at st. peter's church. she just got out of her vehicle with her family there. i apologize to you. guest: i am glad to see that the date is starting at church for many members. what i would suggest as an overall theme, we need dramatic change for the politics as usual in washington, d.c., cannot continue as usual. if we do not make the changes ourselves from a lot -- from a more long-term approach, the current world economic situation is going to fall in the united states. we are not that far removed from what is happening in greece, portugal, or ireland. the reforms, the dramatic changes that are necessary, if
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we do not do them in a good, thoughtful manner that lead to our country in the right direction, -- you complained about a company leaving syracuse, n.y., to move to china -- we have to be careful with what we do. we operate in an economic system where businesses are going to find the most cost effective way for manufacturing goods, for example. you mentioned health care reform not being health care reform but health care insurance reform. a lot of work has been sent to india so businesses can get out of the constraints here in this country. get we need to realize that the laws of economics apply there. host: one of the votes taken in
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the upcoming months is the debt limit. guest: i cannot see voting for increasing the debt limit. more importantly, it planned to reduce the deficit -- a plan to reduce the deficit. we need to finally be held accountable in getting this to move in the right direction in regard to deficit. i think deficits are the most damaging economic teacher today. i think there is a moral component to this. in our failure to act, we are immoral and what we are doing to the next generation of americans. i have not said this publicly. this morning, i would say that my vote is to -- to increase the
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debt limit is not one that can be counted on and would only come with significant reform and reductions in the future of spending. host: jerry moran is our guest, a new senator from kansas. what is your a -- what is the rest of your day like? guest: i will, as we talked earlier, raise my hand and be sworn in as a member of the united states senate. in kansas, the seat is currently held by senator brown back. prior to that, senator dole. this is known as the center do >> - -- sen. dole seat. has had health issues over the
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last year, but kansans hold him in high regard and i hope he is with me today. and then my wife and family are here. i make a trip from kansas to the nation's capital really ever monday and return every friday. and family here, and those kinds of activities. this will be a short week, but lots of ceremony. host: jerry moran, thank you for being on the washington journal. this is a special five-hour "washington journal." we will be live until noon, when the senate convenes for the 112th congress. our show continues from capitol hill and it just a moment. -- in just a moment. >> one new republican member of the u.s. house defeated the incumbent democrat john spratt 55% to 45% for south carolina's
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fifth district. he recently spoke with c-span about what he plans to do to combat the nation lost budget deficit. >> you have served in the state legislature and what states are facing -- and you know what states are facing. how are you going to balance your state's needs, at your district's needs, with the money that they need from the federal government, and make spending cuts in washington? >> we have already had a sit- down with the new governor, gov.-elect haley, who was a friend of mine. i served with her in the state legislature. her message is clear, that we don't want any more money, we want you to leave us alone. money should be taken. south carolina has started to make difficult decisions. we have a balanced budget requirement in our constitution.
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we have been forced to make those difficult decisions and is on the politicians don't do very well, to look people in the eye and say, "no, we cannot do that this year." powerpoint, my point, a lot of us in the south carolina does it -- her point, my point, a lot of us in the south carolina delegation, is that we have to make the same decisions. and a stiff like -- and states like california have to start making difficult decisions. when they come to look for bailouts, the answer will be a firm now, did your own house in order -- no, get your own house in order. south carolina knows they will get by fine. >> when a congressman-elect was elected, it was a member of the south carolina state senate and had served in the state house.
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in the past he has been a real estate developer and a lawyer. watch him and 95 other freshmen get sworn into office at noon eastern on c-span. >> c-span's live coverage of the opening day of the water told congress continues. good morning from capitol hill. the 112th congress will transfer power to the republican party in the house, officially beginning at noon eastern time did you can watch live coverage on c-span -- you can watch live coverage of the house on c-span and live coverage of the senate on c- span2. we will be live in hd, and our goal this morning is to take your telephone calls as we introduce you to a number of new members of congress. our first guest in this portion of our program is adam kinzinger, republican of illinois. 32-year-old. will be sworn in as a member of congress representing the 11th
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district of this state. how does it feel? guest: it is pretty interesting. it is a very humbling dead the day i was elected, i looked -- it was very humbling. the day i was elected, i look at the mirror and i thought, wow, it is an honor. serving the folks, being a representative for over seven and a dozen people in my district is truly humble -- being a representative of 700,000 people in my district is truly humbling. host: you won by a 15-point spread. what is the message you took away from that? guest: people really do what limited government. i think it transcends bipartisanship -- it is bipartisan. democrats want us to cut spending and get back to work but that is what republicans want, too. we just have a little bit of a difference in how to do that. we have to get together and look at where are areas we can find common ground and make government smaller and get
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people back to work. that is the message i took. i also took the message that we fill out of touch with washington, d.c. just listen to us. i had a number of town hall meetings and we had over 300 people at these meetings and they just wanted to be heard. restoring that representation is going to be important. host: front-page story in "the new york times" suggest that the challenge for john boehner will be the support of the tea party. what are your perspectives, especially tell folks here that you had a bird's-eye view of, because you're one of two freshmen elected that were part of the transition committee. how you feel about this desire for change and the reality of capitol hill and how it will match? guest: we are very enthusiastic
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and congress isn't easy as about coming and changing things -- and congress is enthusiastic about coming and taking things. the reality is we are working with a democratic senate and democrat president. while we need to stand up and say that we have got to cut spending and begin to wrestle this deficit beast, and get people back to work, we have to be realistic and say that we working with the other branches of government that are very important, and we have to work together. never rely on our principles and never let on why we were sent to washington -- never relent on our principles and never relent on why we were sent to washington, d.c. host: he is a military man, five tours of duty in iraq and afghanistan. he is on the energy and commerce committee. he is described as one of 10
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conservatives that will define the conservative movement in 2011 the illinois delegation, just give you a sense of the size of change in congress, five members out of 13 are brand new. tell me about the energy and commerce committee. what you hope to accomplish there? guest: it is an important issue, energy security. it is high time we start looking generations down the road. if we in 20 or 30 years still of the country addicted to -- still have a contradicted to foreign oil, shame on us. it is in -- still addicted to foreign oil, shame on us. it is imperative that we find alternatives like wind and ethanol. this is a bipartisan issue. if there ever was one, this is one. both sides can say, yes, we have to have energy security. how do we get there?
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i support repeal of the health care bill, but i also think we really need to tackle what is wrong with health care debate. we have rising costs that are skyrocketing out of control. how do we get those down? there are a lot of issues and energy and commerce is going to be a great committee to tackle them. i am especially passionate about getting us off for an oil. host: our first call is from an energy city, houston, texas. you have a question or comment? caller: yes. america is the one arm around the world for fixing problems health care is a problem in this country. it is fixed, and i don't know what republicans are so interested in dismantling what has been fixed. why don't you fix the part of the health-care bill that needs
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to be fixed instead of repealing it? guest: no, i agree with you but i think this bill is so flawed that the only answer is to repeal this bill but that said, realistically, i know repeal is going to be very tough. you have a democrat senate and democrat president. at the same time, it is important that we said that while it will repeal, how do we make it better? bill tort reform is one way weakened because of health care down -- real tort reform is one way we can bring the costs of health care down. the one thing i know what to do is be consumed with health care for -- the for the one thing -- i don't want to do is be consumed with health care for the next year. host: mark, you are on the air. go ahead, please, you are on.
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caller: i'm sorry? host: you are on the air. do you have a question? caller: a couple of them. first of all, i am a truck driver, and basically, why didn't you guys go further with the "health care reform and cost limits," because all you have successfully done is raise my costs by $50 a month, basically from $410 to $460 a month. i also ended up getting my benefits cut. my second question -- what are you guys going to do to stop the spigot of jobs going overseas?
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we ship sudley oversees the week manufactured here. -- we ship something overseas that we manufactured here. there are all kinds of tariffs. guest: i appreciate those questions but to address health care first, i agree with you. health care is condemning to skyrocket out of control. i am not in -- health care is continuing to skyrocket out of control. i am not in congress yet. i will be at noon. this congress will look at health care and what we can do to make it better. this bill, we support repealing it, but we know it is unrealistic to repeal immediately. how can we say, given that that is the case, what can we do to make it better? tort reform is the key to that. when it comes to jobs overseas, american manufacturers have to be competitive. one in five jobs in the united states relies on trade. what we have to do is make the corporate tax rate more competitive, and every dollar we
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charge corporations is added to the price. when you try to sell to the 95% of consumers outside of the united states, that adds raw costs and makes us un competitive. american products are far greater than any products around the world. i think it is a very important first step to american manufacturing being rejuvenated and thriving again. host: i want to add a third question since the caller was a truck driver. we're hearing reports that gas prices are on the rise. it is not unlikely that people could see for dollar-a-gallon prices. -- $4-8-gallon gas prices.
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guest: as the population rises around the world, you have an exploding energy needs. around the world they're becoming more competitive and have more cards and have more energy needs. people are speculating and prices are skyrocketing. when the economy went south, everybody said that things are going to slow down, let's not speculate on oil but now we're starting to see see an economic recovery. it will recover to that $150-a- barrel level. it is very scary to me. when you look at the offshore drilling moratorium put in place, and we see that that has cost us about the dean% in domestic oil production, -- that has cost us about 13% in domestic oil production, you have a speculation, people drilling oil wells but they don't know what the plan is. we're putting ourselves at the mercy of powers overseas.
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that is something i'm very concerned about. host: new member questioned, the kind he would be asked by family at home. what is the single most interesting thing that's happened to you? guest: it was not an actual moment, but i was walking up the steps of the capitol building and it sought in at that moment. i am in an area where people for generations have come, what people have carried burdensome with them. world war ii, do we decided to go to war? various decisions like that, where people walk in and say i will make tough decisions for the country. walking up the capitol steps, it really sunk in that this is real, this is far beyond me, this is bigger than me, and i don't have kids yet, but i will someday, and i am concerned and passionate about leaving them a country far better than i ever did. host: when was the first time in
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your life that there was an idea of coming to congress? guest: i have always been a passionate about government did when i was 20, i was on the county board. it was probably a few years ago, a couple of years ago, maybe three now, when i was really passionate about what was going on and i was talking to michael pilot. we were on a flight one time, it -- talking to my co-pilot. we're on a flight one time, and it was one of those "what is wrong these days" discussions. host: have you decided to live here or at home? guest: i will keep might main residence at home. i have an apartment here, but it will be a crash pad for a few days. i will be back home talking to the american people. that is the most important, keeping the bridge to the american people.
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people feel left out. host: what is the average length of your days since being elected? guest: pretty long could close to 18 hours, sometimes less -- pretty long. closed 18 hours, sometimes less. i hope this never wears off. this is just a real honor. you realize you are executing a responsibility of the constitution of the united states. the constitution is a sacred document and this is an honor. host: mary, you are on the air. caller: i live not too far from you, and it is the type of place with lots of job losses i happen to be reading something from september 2001 in "newsweek," or president bush said that the deficit is a good thing.
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this is the republican attitude. and as representatives said that it is painful to take people's money, but how are republicans proposing to pay for what we need to do? they don't want to touch the huge defense budget, 120 bases or some ridiculous thing. they will not cut cultural subsidies, which are making -- they will not cut agricultural subsidies, which are making corporate farmers rich. meanwhile, i get almost zero interest. how are we supposed to live in an economy like this that is just way out of balance? it is terrible. guest: i appreciate that question. i agree with you. i disagree it's in the past someone said deficits are a good .hing -
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i believe in limited government and free-market enterprise and a strong national defense. look, we have got to take serious measures. we have attached some sacred cows when it comes to being able to wrestle this deficit -- we have got to touch some sacred cows when it comes to being able to wrestle this deficit. we have to grow the economy to do the rest. when it comes to defense, in many cases, secretary gates has talked about ways in the defense budget and how that needs to be cut out, and that can offset need for increases. that is a very important thing. i have seen firsthand that there is waste in the department of defense that needs to be attacked. when we returned the budget to previous year levels, 2008, for instance, we would save $100 billion. we are going to have to make tough decisions. but ultimately, you will not be able to cut your way out of this. we have got to grow the economy
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and get people back to work. you begin to see faith being restored in the economy, and that is the first step. host: will make your first year a success for you? guest: if the people in my district understand that you may disagree with me on every issue, but if i have my folks in my district saying that adam kinzinger is open to hearing from me, he has meetings, that is a success for me. if i can represent the 11th congressional district of illinois as ferociously and homily -- humbly as i can, that will be a success. host: long beach, independent. caller: i have five quick points i wanted to make. one is that health care was going up before reform. republicans have never balanced the budget, never did anything about it. republicans ran the country into the ground, bush and cheney.
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they got voted back into power. the republicans don't have anything either. cheney and "-- cheney said on "meet the press" several times that deficits don't matter. guest: we can look back and take this congress -- right or wrong, you are basically represented by two bodies, republicans and democrats. i am not going to defend republican practices of old. i'm not going to keep looking back. i will say, what do we have to do to get this stuff in here? i will quit looking back and blame and pointing fingers at anybody and say, here is what we have to do moving forward. look, my party screwed up when we were in the majority. but now we have to understand that we were put into office
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with a mandate to cut spending and get people back to work. let's do it. i'm looking forward and looking for it to representing the people of my district. host: we are in one of the main office buildings, named after speaker joe cannon from the early days of the last century. you've been here all the noise in the background. this is a pretty bustling place this morning. in addition to the church service for a number of members of the house, there are all kinds of meetings going on. family members are here from all over the country. lots of preparation for meetings and other events going on as people get ready for the gaveling in of the 112 at noon eastern time. thank you for giving us your time this busy day could come back and see us another time. coming up, we will see i new he hasof congress -- been a member for over a decade, but he is very involved
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in its transition from his party's point of view. we will talk about that next. >> the house and senate gavel in today at noon eastern. the house gets under way with the swearing in of new members, the election of the new house speaker, and a vote on a new debate rules permit the control of the house shifts to republicans -- a vote on new debate rules. the control of the house shifts to republicans. john boehner of ohio is expected to become speaker. follow the house live today, as always come here on c-span. when the senate dabbles in today, they will start with a live quorum to bring all members to the fort for the swearing in of newly elected senators. democrats remain in control.
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republicans picked up six seats and now have 47 members. democrat harry reid and republican mitch mcconnell keep their positions as party leaders. the chamber has six new members coming to washington8 -- as 16 new members coming to washington, 13 republicans, three democrats. follow the senate on the c- span2. host: here is a democrat rob andrews of new jersey. you were spoken about in david dreier's press conference after coming out of the rules committee. he suggested you are one of two democrats that was part of the process, and while he was not optimistic you might vote for it in the end, you had the opportunity for input. let's talk about the changes
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proposed by the new majority and your perspective. host: the house did two good things that we participated in and supported they're going to try not to cut floor votes when committees convene to have hearings and markups. which is good, because the committees will get more work done. the second is that they are trying to keep the schedule a little more predictable they say will vote this fight, then there will be -- if they say there will be a vote this friday, then there will be. those are two positive things that i participated in and supported, and i think they will follow through. i don't support a lot of other things that they've done. it probably did not mention that. -- david probably did not mention that. host: you and i have both been around for awhile, and past
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speakers have often tried to have more predictable schedule, and it seems to fall apart pretty quickly in new congresses once the reality of committee work and eat like hits. what would make the difference? guest: probably abolishing the senate would help a lot. the senate moves at its own pace. if they are just not ready, that is what causes a lot of the scheduling gaps. i was supposed to be at an event in my district last night to swear in a friend of mine, and i cannot do it because of some that i had to do here. we're trying to avoid things like that if we can. host: you have been a member of the education committee most of yourtenure in congress and john boehner was chair of that for a while.
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what can you tell the country about watching him in action? guest: i don't agree with john boehner on a lot of things but i like him. i think he is a fair minded person. he is a person to respect the institution and the people in it. i divide the people in here in the two camps, and it is that democrat and republican or liberal and conservative -- it is not a democrat and republican or liberal and conservative. it is people who believe in the institution, and people who want to tear down for political purposes. john boehner is an institutionalist in the finest sense of the word. host: 10 you tell us a bit about what the strategy will be in your leadership team in this new congress? guest: we will run every proposition 33 tests -- through three tests -- will lead create
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jobs, reduce the deficit? we think those are the tests and that is what we will do. host: the republican majority is adding another test, constitutionality. what you think of that? guest: i think it is self- evident that of the thing we do should be constitutional and i have no objection at all. host: jim, democrat, good morning. you are on. jim, are you there? all right, let's move on to roseburg, oregon. bill is a republican caller. caller: good morning. i happen to be one of the 99ers. oregon has one of the highest unemployment. right now it seems like they are raising the gas tax by 6 cents in oregon.
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the federal government is thinking about raising the gas tax also. are they going to be working on helping the unemployment that has been out for a long time, what they call the 99ers, or are we just out on a limb with nowhere to go? i will get your answer off the phone. guest: the answer, bill, is that we ought to help the 99ers and others. as long as some is legitimately looking for a job, as i'm sure you are, and doing their best, we ought to help them out. i have for the continued extension of unemployment benefits -- i am for the continued extension of unemployment benefits for people in good faith looking for a job. i would be in favor of increasing the gasoline tax. for most americans, driving is not a discretionary the electorate, it is an economic necessity, and to raise the price of that for -- is not a discretionary luxury, it is an economic necessity, and to raise the price of that for families
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is not a good idea. host: he has been a professor of law at rutgers university. are you not sure what your new committee assignments will be? guest: i am sure it will be education and labor, i am almost sure services. we have a shrinking number of seats for our members, and accommodating one of my brothers and sisters for a seat is something i would do. host: one of the changes the gop majority like to see is limiting the number of committee assignments people that have. overall, members might have a few receipts? -- fewer seats? guest: that is up to them. our problem is the musical chairs problem, too many members, not enough seats. the number of democrats on committees has shrunk because of us going to the minority. host: today there is a vote for
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speaker of the house. there are rumors that there might be a protest vote by democrats voting for other candidates. what you think of that? guest: i don't think that will happen. i will probably -- i will proudly cast my vote for it nancy pelosi. she is a visionary leader. i will work to make her speaker two years from now if i can. host: good morning, maya. caller: i want to tell you what incenses meet. the last congress -- moody's and standard and poor's came in front of the committee and they talked about how they changed the ratings, and consequently, the investments that people put into in mortgages and things of that nature is a total lie. nothing has happened to those people. it is business as usual.
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millions of people have lost their homes. i think it is important that those people but are responsible for this chicane. -- that are responsible for this chicanery are brought to justice. we spend more than a billion dollars a month on a war. we have 100 bases around the world. people in this country are losing their homes, people don't have -- i have heard on c-span and the radio that there are people who are hungry, starving, living in their cars. when david walker was the comptroller of our country, he said that the defense department budget and books were unauditable. that is where the money is, i think it is appalling that people say, "that is in the past, let's move forward."
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people who break laws in the past should be brought to justice -- host: maya, let me jump in. thank you. guest: first of all, let me say that the wall street reform law the president signed last year gives us the authority to go after people like those who violated the trust of investors. i hope the attorney general does. as far as iraq and afghanistan is concerned, the president promised to withdraw from iraq and he is honoring the promises. he promised that by august of this year, we would be withdrawn from afghanistan. the commanders on the ground have told me that is a viable plan. he will honor that as well. this president wants to defend our country vigorously, but he does not want to extend as permanently into wars without an, and he is honoring its commitment. host: last night we learned of the murder of a top leader in
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pakistan by his own body guard. what about the continuing unrest in pakistan? guest: i think it is the number- one threat to world stability right now. the pakistan government is imperfect, but it is friendly to the united states. its weakening is a major problem for us and for civilized people around the world. i'm very worried about this. the number of civilians killed by terrorist attacks in pakistan in 2001 was 700 people. last year it was 6000 people. this is a threat to us, i think we need a strategy that looks of that region and tries to stabilize that government. host: about eight more minutes. our next phone call is from illinois/ . rose is an independent. caller: hi, susan. i just want to say, thank brian
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lamb for c-span2 i was surprised to see that over in england, they have copied what c-span tries to do. i have been calling off and on since kissinger was on. i just hope that -- kissinger -- i don't know if you realize how much he mimicked president obama on ideas and policies that he wanted for the country one example, the debt commission. everyone ignored that the republican senate voted down the debt commission that president obama started from the first of his administration. that has all been ignored. more importantly, the money. now, in illinois, karl rove, the u.s. chamber of commerce, the koch brothers all donated
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heavily to mr. kissinger, but more importantly, karl rove spent most amount of money in the illinois senate for mr. koch. we need to watch and know what all these people want for their money. in america, one of the other representatives said it is all about the money. let's follow the money. and the media has ignored asking this question, what do we want wem the new progcongress -- should ask that karl rove, the u.s. chamber, the koch brothers, and all the others want from this congress? i will wait for your answer. thank you so much. guest: we will find out very specific answers to your question. darrell issa is doing these investigations, and sent a letter to several hundred special interest groups and
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trade associations, many of whom came to the enterprise of karl rove just made reference to, and asked them which laws they want to see changed. sort of a customer relations the venture, i guess, where these guys who poured so much money into alaska and then -- into the last campaign have literally been asked which regulations they want to see weakened. regulations to make sure the food in your kid's lunch isn't rancid, or that your credit card bank cannot charge to ridiculous and exorbitant interests. i'm sure those will be on the wish list of things to be repealed. my concern is that we're getting the worst congress that money can buy. with the huge amount of money pouring in chum i am fearful that that is what we will see from the new majority. host: there are 53 women in the
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112th, 21 republicans, 32 democrats. we know now that there is one to be scheduled in january 12 a vote for overall repeal. most people suggest that is a long road. but have other tactics like not funding abortions are going after specific aspects of the bill -- not funding portions or going after is this a the aspects of the bill -- where is this going? guest: it is going in the wrong direction. creating jobs in the country, that is what people are talking about. every minute that republicans spent on the healthcare debate is a diversion from what people in the country really care about. the ceremonial vote next week -- i don't know what they are going to do after that. what the people want is a
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bipartisan effort like the end of december that creates jobs. by the way, the president sign that bipartisan tax compromise in december. it was reported this morning that 297,000 jobs added to private sector payrolls in the month of december. i don't think that is a coincidence. let's do more of that and less of the politics of health care. host: two minutes left with you. we're from the canon office building. our next phone call is from asheville, north carolina. republican. caller: good morning. thank you for c-span. i love being able to watch these things going on today. i just wanted to make one comment about what the congressman said about the health-care issue. that is a very important issue to the people in this country. he, as well as all the other progressives, have ignored us.
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it is very important. we do want it repealed. a majority of the american people do. what i called about -- i think one issue that needs to be addressed in washington -- i guess i have called my congressmen and senators last year more than i ever have. i was a lifelong democrat, but since nancy pelosi and every took over, -- but since nancy pelosi and harry reid took over, i could no longer support the party because of the progressive leadership. if they are not from your district, they are through talking to you. some of them, you cannot even send them an e-mail unless you are from their district. that needs to stop. they need to listen to every american in this country, not just the people in their district. if we want something we want you
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to vote, we have to be able to voice it, because you people are working for us. if you could do something about that -- guest: ma'am, i would say that i agree with you. i tried to respond to everybody who contact us. i am happy to talk to you this morning. we may not agree, but i understand that you pay my salary. host: i want to show pictures on the church service. nancy pelosi just leaving the church. eric cantor just a moment or so ahead of her. we will use the opportunity to say that you to congressman rob andrews. guest: thank you as well. thank you for c-span. you do a great job for the american people. host: we will have a number of other members of the house and senate and other freshmen to introduce you to. let's listen to a call from georgia.
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john on the democrats' line. we are in between congressional guests. let's get what is on your mind. caller: i'm just concerned about the investigations with mr. issa and oversight committee. i just want to know if they will let us know how much is going to cost us with all these investigations into the president's agenda. the republicans are talking about creating jobs. the jobs they will create -- are those the jobs of the investigators there will hired to investigate the president? that is my comment. at a good day. host: alabama, charles is a republican. you are on the air on c-span. caller: i have a question on the unemployment extension.
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basically, and nobody really clarifies its -- does this only affect the people that are presently drawing? what about people who of exhausted benefits months ago? host: how long have you been out of work? caller: i'm self-employed. i'm not out of work. host: so you were concerned about other -- caller: my question is about the 99ers -- does this apply to three months ago, six months ago? you have exhausted your 99 weeks, however, this is extended. host: thank you very much. cannot answer questions about specific legislation is one, but appreciate your concern about unemployment. texas. steve is an independent. caller: hello.
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how are you guys doing today? host: good morning. caller: i'm calling a little bit about the economy, and i also have a question in regard to the military. i've been a veteran for 11 years now. my biggest thing that i have seen in the military has been out double standard with equal opportunity. we preach equal opportunity, but at the same time, women are held to a different standard than men are and women are given extra points and required to do less. also, there is discrimination with your age. the older you are, the less you are required to do. i think all that needs to go away and we need to see one standard for military throughout the board, regardless of age, regardless of gender. we all of the same job to do and should be held to the same standard and be given the same opportunities. host: thanks for that comment.
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we have had a number of people call about the jobs data this morning. congressman andrews referred to it earlier. an organization that monitors jobs in the united states says the private sector jobs were up 297,000 last month. almost triple what the expectations were pretty good news for the country on this opening day of congress. our next guest will be a member of the united states senate in a few hours. he is the longest serving governor of south dakota, now moving to the national legislature. good morning, susan. how are you? host: good. tell us about moving from being an executive of the state to
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being a junior member, how that will affect getting things done. guest: whether you are 8 governor or senator, you have to work with people to get things done our number one priority and key focus has been economic development and job creation. that is the focus that i bring to this job, the united states senate. that, combined with better fiscal discipline, the kind of health care reform that empowers people, a comprehensive energy policy, those are the things that can move our country forward. host: north dakota has been one of the bright spots in terms of the economy. what has a secret den? -- what has your secret been? guest: our number one priority has been regulatory certainty, a pro-business climate in our
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state, not only holding the line on taxes, but reducing taxes, making it easier to do business, not harder. we have worked at it for a whole decade, diversify our economy, added not only value added agriculture, energy, traditional and renewable sources of energy. i think that is really the backbone of america, a small business, in power in private investment, growing the economy. that is what we have to do at the national level. host: what aspects of what you just told me can be applied to the national economy? guest: all of them. comes back to the pro-business environment and regulatory certainty, which empowers small business investment in the country you get people back to work at the same time, better fiscal management. you tackle the deficit and debt. those are the keys to moving the
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country forward. we go into any individual. you want to talk about, whether -- any individual area you want to talk about, but it has to back toempowering small business and getting the economy going. host: john hoeven joins us from the other side of capitol hill. one of the things that will be happening on the senate floor today will be a presentation of suggested changes to senate rules, including filibuster rule changes. have you decided whether or not he will support that? -- you will support that? guest: we have to make sure that if laws affect people's lives, we have bipartisanship to do it. we want to make sure we can continue to build bipartisan support to pass good legislation that will empower people and
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small business across the country. no, i don't support the change to the filibuster rule. host: the other suggestion has been eliminating secret holds senators can put on legislation. guest: you know, i am just being sworn in today. i will have to learn more about how the procedures work to answer the question. host: let me move to calls for you, beginning with the michigan. annie is a democrat. do you have a question or comment? caller: yes. i have started a foundation for defeating dyslexia in education. i have heard a lot of things happening from arne duncan. we have children from first grade all the weight to 12 -- all the way to 12.
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public schools say it is too expensive. even though it is with the ada idea of dyslexia with disorders, many school-age children are reflect -- affected with dyslexia. 20% at school children are affected with other disorders, just putting your thoughts together. these are very intelligent children. we have a lot of children who are going to be our future, and i want to know, instead of having these kids not get educated, even though they want to and want to learn and are eager -- host: i'm going to jump in at this point, because we had a lot of people on the line. as governor of the state, you are responsible for admit
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administration of no child left behind. testing for children with problems like dyslexia was a real area of debate. maybe even add that perspective to the question. guest: as we authorize education funding, we have to have flexibility at the local level what works for north dakota and the small rural community may be very different from what works in phoenix, arizona. we have to make sure we empower school boards and teachers and local school districts to do what makes sense in their districts. the same thing with testing. you asked specifically about testing. you have to have flexibility in testing. you have to make sure that students make progress. under no child left behind, it was annual common yearly progress but we want to make sure we bring all students along, but even in testing, you have to have flexibility to make sure that it works for the particular school district, the particular part of the country you are working with.
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that is something we will have to build into the new education plan. nville, florida . ken is a republican. caller: some way to separate out to help social security, and i cannot get any senator -- is there any way you can take my number or anything? is there a simple way to put money back into social security? some white the -- some way to -- [unintelligible] i talked to john mccain when he was in jacksonville. host: if you called it a general capital number -- the general capitol number, that might be
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a better way to get staff attention. guest: people are looking for good ideas, and whatever has have the support of the american people behind us. we started this interview talking about what are my priorities in congress, and i go back to job creation. we have 50 million-plus people out of work. if we can get -- we have 15 million-plus people out of work. if we can get half of those people back to work, that would put $50 billion a year into social saberi, making it much more solid. -- it to social security, making it much more solvent. we have to make sure it is there for the long term, for our seniors, and come back in a bipartisan way to develop solutions that have broadbased support and can get the country behind us as we deal with entitlement programs.
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host: do you support any of the recommendations of the president to get commission, including raising the eligibility age? guest: there are aspects of the debt commission i do support. i will give you an example. in medicare, tort reform can make a huge difference in terms of our costs for medicare. also, the reimbursement system in medicare. by now, a low-cost state like mine gets a lower reimbursement than as they w -- than a state with higher reimbursement. that is not the way it should work. the solutions have to be bipartisan. we have to make sure we communicate to get the people of this country behind us in order to get it done. host: the next telephone call for you is from los angeles. jim is an independent.
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caller: good morning, susan. host: yes, sir. caller: i want to ask the senator -- capital flows to cheap labor. you know that. there is something called comparative advantage. i want to ask the senator how he supports to reverse this position of the u.s. with the expense of labor, historically, -- expensive labor, historically, and how do we become competitive in the markets? guest: we have to compete in a global, high-tech economy, no question about it. the way is through productivity. we have to have a great educational system where we educate and train young people. we have to create a pro-business environment and the country, where, yes, there is a proper
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role for regulation, but it needs to be understandable and common sense, and it needs to empower this is pretty neat to have a trade policy that puts us on a level playing -- needs to empower business. we have to have a trade policy that puts us on a level playing field. we have to have high-quality jobs, that is the future for this country. it will have to be based on global trade and global commerce. host: we are understanding that committee assignments on the senate side are still somewhat in play. you have secured a seat on the upper operations committee, is that correct? guest: i will be on operations and the energy committee did -- will haveon ap >-- on appropriations and energy committee.
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host: what is your philosophical approach? guest: we ought -- we have to find ways to get the economy going and control spending. that will reduce the deficit and over time reduce the debt. when you look back to the 1990's, that is exactly what happened. congress created a pro-business approach to create eight growing economy, and with the deficit and surplus situation -- we can do that again. that is what the american people are calling for, and we have that to get to work on it right away. host: the belief that -- to you believe that programs and the like are the key to security, or will programs have to be caught? guest: it is all in the mix. we will have to do all those things. we have to implement reforms and combine all that with a growing
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economy. job number one is getting people back to work. that a growing economy, combined with all the things you and i are talking about, susan, will get us out of debt is in and out of debt -- out of deficit and out of debt. host: specifically as a sitting governor, you look at the net effect of programs. you have targets in mind when cutting?iat areas of guest: i will describe tort reform. there was an article in "the wall street journal" saying that the costs of medical malpractice suits in this country are something like $100 billion a year. tort reform take a big bite out of that cost. i think we have to look at foreign aid.
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at time we are running huge deficits, we have to look at much we can give other countries. how about agency budgets? the epa budget grew 37% from the year before but clearly there are many examples where we can go out and find savings. we have to go on and do that, as well as, as you say, that the economy going. -- get the economy going. host: let me ask logistics' questions for you personally. i decided whether you will be living here with your family -- have you decided whether you'll be living here with your family? guest: i have a home in bismarck, but i have an apartment in the district, so at this point i will be living and renting in d.c. when i'm in washington. host: since the election, what
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is the most surprising thing you have encountered? guest: most surprising? i have been governor for 10 years, so it is just a huge change getting an apartment and getting settled. i am excited for this opportunity to serve the country and state as the united states senator. host: porter is a democrat. you are on. caller: i'm a first-time caller. thank you for taking my call. i would like to ask the senator- elect if he could explain republican presidents created 73% of the nation's debt. guest: i think we will have to get beyond republican, democrat. we will have to focus on the key things we have been talking about this morning, job creation, controlling the cost
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of government, the right kind of health care reform that empowers people, strong support for the military. those are the things that people the country want to see. we have to find bipartisan ways to come together and put good solutions in place. for the good of our generation and future generations. host: washington. joan is a republican. caller: i am not so concerned about what you are going to do, because i know you are going to do a wonderful job. but callers were talking about cutting military spending, and it always seems to be the big thing. when we run out of money, let's cut the military. right now it is 23% of the
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federal spending of the gdp. 3.72. the world military expenditure -- they are growing the military. we need to do more for our military. we started hiring global service. -- in world war ii we started hiring global service. they are not unions. because a huge amounts of money. -- we could save huge amounts of money and bring our military back to where it should be. , militarytary mom
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wife, and it is close to my heart. guest: 90 to your family and for your service as -- well. thank -- you to your family and for your service as well. we owe our military so much did they put their lives on the line for our freedom and freedom around the globe. thank you for your support, and all that you'd do -- you do as a military family. i cannot say enough. we have to be there for them. host: john hoeven spent three terms as the north dakota governor bridge thank you so much for being with us --
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governor. thank you so much for being with us. come back and see us after the session starts. guest: thank you, susan. host: the congress will have a 44 african-americans, two of them members of the gop. to date there will be hearing from nancy pelosi later on -- today they will be hearing from nancy pelosi later on. we will hear more about what is happening as the day progresses. when we come back, we will meet congressman tom price. not a new member. he has been a face on capitol herzero hill for a few years. -- on capitol hill for a few years but he will be chairing the republican policy committee, developing that is that of ideas for the majority.
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>> speaking are incoming house minority leader, nancy pelosi, and incoming minority whip, steny hoyer. the congressional black caucus foundation is the host of this event and you can see it live right now on c-span2. and a little later we'll go live to the old senate chamber in the u.s. capitol where vice president joe biden is holdingal ceremonial saring in for commarts senators. all family members will be sworn in before that time but this mock swearing-in is for members and family members as well. if the senator does choose to take part, they'll do so by seniority. you can watch the air money live today starting at 1:00 p.m. eastern on c-span3. right after that we'll head to the rayburn room in the u.s. capitol where house members will do the same thing. you can see their mock swearing-in starting at 2:30 eastern. also on c-span3.
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host: c-span continues its live coverage of the opening day of the 112th congress. we are coming to you live this morning and in hd from our temporary set in the cannon house office building. our next guest is we continue our program today is congressman tom price. a familiar face to c-span viewers. republican of georgia representing the area around marietta. he will be in a new role in the new congress. he is the chairman of the republican policy committee. i'm going to have a little inside baseball here. explain this to us. >> it's a part of the republican leadership. its charge is to make certain that we are communicating to our members the policy issues that come forward and give pros and cons, where we ought to be on the policy. and communicating to the american people about the positive solutions we have to all the challenges we face. host: in the last congress you were chairman of something with a similar sounding name, the republican study committee. more than 160 members. how do the two responsible for developing. an internal think tank as i
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understand it. how do the two work together? guest: the republican study committee is a voluntary group. it's kind of a conservative conscience of the house of representatives on the republican side. its membership varies depending on the number of folks that want to join as opposed to the policy committee which is a member of the leadership and that group represents the entire republican congress. the republican study committee is a robust entity that puts forward all sorts of policy solutions on the conservative side. as republican policy chair it will be my goal to work with the republican study committee as well as the other caucuses of the republican conference. host: throughout the last congress we had you on our "washington journal" program during the health care debate pretty frequently. you were the spokesman for the republicans on the legislation. next week is the repeal, most suggest even if you win approval in the house, the senate is likely stopping. certainly the president has the
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veto. talk to me about the strategic -- strategy beyond repeal. guest: repeal is important because it's what the american people want. the vast majority of the american people did not want this bill to be passed or signed into law. what we are doing is fulfilling a promise we made to the american people. if we were given the privilege of leading once again, we would vote to repeal. after that comes the hard work of working together in an open and bipartisan manner to make certain we move forward with positive health care solutions. not solutions that punish individuals or that dictate to them what kind of health care they must have. and that's what we hope to do in the committee process. the committees of jurisdiction will be working in a very open and transparent way to bring forward those patient-centered solutions we believe are vital. host: been reading one tactic might be the funding aspect of the health care law. that won't come from a policy committee. talk about that strategy. guest: a number of aspects of the bill we believe are destructive to affordability of
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health care, to the accessibility of health care, and certainly to the quality of health care in this country. when we are able to make certain those entities that would harm the american people from a health care standpoint have a line item in the budget that we defund those areas. one of the items that i think is important to talk about is the independent advisory board, the denying of care, the rationing entity that was promoted this week. the end all and be all for american health care. we believe that's an anathema to the american people. we ought not deny care to the american people and consequently defunding that would be one of the things we would be talking about in a very open, transparent, and accountable way through the committee process. host: our time with you is short. let me begin with a call from virginia. this is george, a republican. you are on the air for mr. price. caller: thank you, representative price. i was in l.a. i was work at home
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depot and in a bad motorcycle accident, hit head-on. since then i have had one operation. what i'm trying to get at i have been out of work. my wife's a nurse. she makes $50,000. right now i have about 4,600 people following me on facebook. this is what the people of america want. we want to pay the debt. work out the bills with china and pay the debt to make the dollars come again. you-all can make a payment plan. we don't care. next we want you to freeze gas prices. b.p. is taking oil out of iraq that is our oil. taxpayers have paid for t we want a freeze on gas prices to $1.50 a gallon. number two, we want a freeze on food prices. you-all can get this mess straightened out. we want everybody, $75,000,
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making $75,000 a year and under, we want free health care. . if the democrats can get it done, we also want another way of talking to our senators or representatives through skype, some way we can get on there and talk to you-all since the representatives and the congressmen can't get the picture. host: george, let me interrupt. we have a little time here. reverse order. first of all more connectivity with members of congress. seems like your majority is planning for more connectivity. guest: absolutely. the whole new social media, whether it's on skype, facial book, or twitter, those things -- facebook, or twitter, those things we believe that's the important thing. we need to make certain we stay connected. george, i'm sorry for the challenge you have had from a health standpoint. we understand and appreciate the need tore debt reduction. it's one of the things we believe to be high on the list
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of priorities. and then in terms of energy, the consumption of the cost of gasoline, a whole issue of american domestic energy production, it's important for us to make certain that we address. we talked about an all-of-the-above energy plan which means for us making certain we utilize responsibly the resources we have in this country so that we are not as reliant on foreign oil. one of the reasons the cost of gasoline is so high at the pumps because we haven't as a country utilized our resources responsibly and in an effective manner. we look forward to moving forward on the issue of energy. that's one ever those areas i believe where there is a bipartisan agreement. host: he's out for freezing the gas prices and i have foregoten his second question. food prices, yes. is that an anathema to you philosophically? guest: he points out the increase of cost in all commodities. if you don't make the right
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diagnosis you can't cure the patient. what we need to do is make the right diagnosis. why are commodity prices going on, gas and food prices? they are going up for a variety of reasons. we are not utilizing our resources responsibly and expanding our own domestic production of energy. that's what we need to do. as opposed to freezing, the government control more things, which have gotten us in a world of hurt in the last two to four years, we need to expand the ability of the private sector to work. that's how you increase choices. host: what will john boehner's biggest challenge be? guest: he's committed to a much more open process, much more involved process by the majority party as well as the minority party. that would be new to members of the house. there are a lot of members of the house who haven't participated in an open process before. so that will be a challenge. and there are 87 new republican members of the house of representatives, over 1/3 of our
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conference have never served in the house of representatives before. that's a challenge just in terms of bringing people up to speed on the issues and making certain we are working forward positively on all the challenges. host: wendell, massachusetts, claude, independent. you are on the air. caller: thank you for "washington journal." thank you for welcoming me. as an aside i am constantly amazed at the size of things on the beltway and around you. how -- host: i'm going to move on to another call. wilmington, ohio. go ahead, please. jim? wilmington, ohio, jim, democrat, go ahead, please. sorry. we seem to have lost that caller. he was asking about the size and scope of these buildings. he's been on capitol hill for a while now. try to convey to people what this campus is like.
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guest: there are three house office buildings. cannon is where we are right now. rotunda of cannon, it's the oldest. and it is majestic when you look at it. it's my favorite because of its history. but it's a wonderful throwback to the kind of images we all recognize from the movies and the like. each individual member of the house has an office in one of the house office buildings. separate from the capitol itself. host: for all those new members coming in, do you recall the sense that you had when you first came here? guest: very exciteling day. oftentimes you have a number of individuals who will be coming up from home who helped you get elected, who participated in the dream and vision you had as a new member, prospective member of congress. it's a very, very exciting day. it's a clam to us day. it's a day -- calamitous day. i think it's true for all folks. new congress coming in regardless of your political stripe. you know we have remarkable
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challenges and the opportunities to solve them together exist once again. teaps like starting a new baseball season. host: since you have taken the oath a couple times, are you bringing a large family contingent? guest: no. they are all back home. on c-span. host: christian, you are on the air, go ahead. caller: i don't understand this. two questions, let me finish. how is it that when president obama tries to pass health care you guys talk about the $700 billion you put on your children and grandchildren. you give the rich a tax break that that puts more than $700 billion on your children and grandchildren? that right there -- the second thing is, if you guys are going to talk about the constitution, understand what the constitution means to us. some people, the constitution means domestic tranquility. me as a black man or man of color, during the constitution
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did i have domestic tranquility for the slave masters to kill, rape, and hang the black people. as far as the hispanics, as far as the native americans, where is the constitution there? during the 1960's, you guys were old enough during the 1960's, where were you guys at when we were trying to fight for our constitution rights? i tell you where you were at, you guys were lynching us. you guys were putting dogs on us. you guys were putting hoses on us. we want to start off and talk about the constitution, the constitution to a caucasian means one thing. the constitution to a black man or person of color is totally different. you guys are starting off on the wrong foot because under the constitution you guys killed my people. you guys raped my women. you guys separated families. and now you want to sit up here and talk about the constitution? host: christian, thank you for your call. the reading of the constitution. guest: the constitution provides
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and arsure all american citizens, unlike any other country in the world, our liberties and freedoms come from the good lord, from god above. and we we crede -- creed a -- cede a portion of those back to the government. have we been mer as a country? absolutely not. i would remind christian that during the 1960's the civil rights movement that many of us took part in, and advocated for, that the republican party was front and center on that in assisting and moving that issue forward. there's a lot of blame to go around for challenges that we have had in the past. but i prefer to look forward positively, optimistically. understanding and appreciating this is the greatest 8 -- nation in the history of the world and it has become so because of sticking to fundamental principles and rule of law. we look forward to moving forward positively and solving the challenges we face based upon those principles. host: we asked the his tornian's office in the house of representatives whether the
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constitution had been read on the floor. they could find no history of it. twice it's been entered into the record but never been read aloud . can you tell us about the germ nation of this idea and what it means? guest: over the past two to four years, even for a longer period of time, many folks across this land, have believed that their government is not listening to them and isn't necessarily adhering to constitutional principles. so what we believe is important to do is to say as a matter of policy we will read into the record, the congressional record, the constitution of the united states so that everybody can know that the -- that is our foundational documents. those are the fundamental principles we'll follow. i think it's a wonderful symbolic move but also concrete move that says over the next two years this is the document we will hold dear. we are going a step further and saying in order to bring a bill to the floor of the house, you have to cite the constitutional program or parameter that allows
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you to do that because many people as i say across this land believe that the federal government has been overreaching and overbearing in way that is are not constitutional. host: some advance that is have been released of mr. boehner's speech today? i'm paraphrasing, understanding by the majority that their hold on power is tentative, not guaranteed. i'm wondering what you think you must splish in this term in order to retain the majority? guest: i think it's important to appreciate that this is new language for speaker elect boehner. he used it four years ago when he gave the gavel to speaker -- then speaker-elect pelosi he said the majorities have to listen to the people. have to be open to all sorts of different solutions in order to retain that gavel. what we will do, i believe, under the new majority, is to provide that listening mechanism for the american people. to make certain that the american people know that we are indeed listening.
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and we are working together in a collegial manner, positively, with the members of the congress who in fact want to solve these challenges. none of us came here by and large to fight the political battles. we came here to solve big problems. what we need to do is utilize the talent of the 435 members of the house of representatives to solve those big challenges that we face. host: you have had an opportunity to see john boehner behind closed doors in leading strategy sessions, acting as a leader. what do you know about him that you would like the public to know? you have seen it, we haven't. guest: i think the challenge that mr. boehner brings to the table is one of calmness. he understands behind closed doors that he never yells. he's an individual who listens to all sides. and then makes a decision. he's not afraid of making a decision. he listens to all parties then moves forward. so he's not an excitable individual. at this time i think that's what we need. we need a calming influence in
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this country right now. especially in the legislative branch. so that we are not just banging heads. we are really solving the challenges that we face. host: another caller, mary, an independent in vermont. good morning. caller: thank you for taking my call. i have two issues. first of all i would like to say that i am in the slight minority of people who do not want to see the health care bill repealed in total. i see no sense in throwing out the baby with the bath water. but my concern with the health care is more with the delivery system and possibly medical physicians who don't seem to understand that the principal of first do no harm needs to apply. i see a lot of people getting hurt whether they are on medicaid or have a cadillac plan because we do not have adequate medical practitioners. we don't have enough. i would like to know if this congress and senate is going to do to encourage young people to
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go into the medical profession so that we have do have caring and health in our somewhat health care system of the the second issue i have is energy environment. with clinton was the economy, stupid. ever so slight majority of voters informed the president that it was jobs, stupid. well, i'm calling to say it's the environment, stupid. if we continue to grow, grow, grow without any ethical review of how we are going to do it sustainably, it will be no issue about health care because there won't be a future. i would very much like to hear what this congress and this senate is going to do with the reality, the actual facts of the predicament of our future generations. host: on the first question, just to tell people about it, we said earlier you are a
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physician. talk about practice for 20 years. you also spent time as a medical director of a hospital in atlanta. her question about encouraging people into the medical field must be near and dear to your heart. guest: the work force issues in health care haven't been addressed through both republican and democrat administrations for a long time. she's right. the number of individuals, bright individuals across this land who are young people who are selecting to become physicians has actually diminished. that's -- that will harm us from an access standpoint. what we need to do, i believe, is incentivize individuals in the science and technology and math arena from a very young age. we can encourage both teachers and students to recognize the wonder and beauty that is the study of science and medicine. in addition to that, in a concrete way, we need to make certain we remove the hurdles and barriers to physicians being able to practice their profession, their craft as they were trained. there are a lot of things right now in our current system that make it extremely difficult for physicians to actually take care
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of patients in the way they were trained to do. so removing those hurdles and those difficulties will go a long way toward providing increase in the work force. there are resource issues and making it so that there are appropriate resources to -- for medical education and training. host: a couple more calls for congressman price. to our viewers i know it gets noisy in here sometimes. the tradeoff for the amount of background noise which is the center of the action today. bear with us if you are listening to us. next from tennessee, jane is a democrat. you are on. caller: i'd like to first thank you for having me. next off, i'd like to say how many lobbyists are you going to have paying you off and working for you? and where did you live during the civil rights movement? there wasn't a republican that stood behind it. another thing i want to know,
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why all the common people and regular people, every cut we get, working people, what's done is paint your houses, you're putting your kids through school, ok. host: i'm going to stop you here. thank you. a long laundry list here. start with the first question which is the relationship between the new congress and lobbyists. guest: we put together a nuge transparency aspect to -- huge transparency aspect. who is employed here. i don't have any lobbyists on my payroll. i think it's important for the american people to know who is working for whom. those items ought to be disclosed to folks so that they know. host: with regard to fundraising. i noted some press articles, some brand new republican members who are decrying the way washington immediately held fundraising, pay down their
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debts, have to bring money back into the system. overall, this relationship between congress and the need to raise money for re-election, does it need a holistic approach? are you happy with the way things are? guest: money is kind of a necessary evil in politics. however, it's imperative to allow individuals to be able to demonstrate the support that they have in their own community and their own districts and states through the support that individuals give them. the alternative is the public financing of campaigns which many individuals -- which some individuals support. i think that gets to be destructive to the free speech aspect of our system because then what that means the public, somebody in the government, would then decide who is warranted to be able to run for office. it's a challenge always. i think that when we err on the side of accountability and transparency, letting people all across this land know who is contributing, when they are contributing, in real time, then folks, citizens can draw their
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own conclusions, and james can draw his conclusion like everybody else. host: last call from florida. this is sean who is a republican. sean, you are on. caller: hi, susan. hi, mr. price. i'm so glad it's you i'm talking to today. first off, yes we want this repealed. democrats have moved this to what we want to talk about now. and you want to repeal it because we believe it's a power grab. people don't know it's called the affordable health care act and meanwhile prices have gone up 15%. and you also said it was republicans keeping their promise. that's what the democrats are trying to box us into by saying that it's just politics. just tinkering with it, if we tinker with it we are going to get the blame for it and it won't be obamacare, then it will be boehner care. on a personal note, i am in the
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tea party and i'm tired of being called a tea bagger, it's better to be the tea bagger than tea bagee. guest: the wonderful movement that has -- that's described as the tea party movement, it's good americans across this great country who have great concern about the direction of the country and understand you can't spend more money than you take in and when government grows it decreases the ability of individuals themselves to realize their dreams. i'm -- i'm an enthusiastic in my support of individuals getting involved in the political process. so many of the new 87 republicans who are joining, will take the oath of office today, have been supported by just those folks who have been concerned about the growth of government. host: mr. price, today after the new congress has assembled, officially because the chairman of the republican policy committee. we hope we'll see lots of him with your phone calls on the "washington journal" as the year progresses. thank you for being here. we'll be here until just before 12:00 noon eastern time in the
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cannon house office building. we are coming to you live in h.d. this morning. we'll continue taking your telephone calls and along the way mix in members of the house and senate. incoming members of the 112th congress. we'll continue taking phone calls right now in the interim. as we get our next guest ready. franklin, new jersey, is next. democrat. you are on the air. caller: thank you very much, ma'am. host: go ahead. caller: my question is that i'm so sorry that the gentleman just left the line. they want to repeal the health care bill, fine. why don't they bring the plan before the house, let's compare plan with the plan of the democratic party with the health care bill. let's look at it, compare it, and see what is in the bill. all of them coming suggest repeal, repeal, repeal.
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talk reform. some people call mentally destable. it's from the tough reform that they get, eligible for medicare and medicaid. they want to repeal all that. g.o.p. is married to the insurance companies. host: thanks very much for your call. during the break we have our next guest who is a familiar face to "washington journal." managing editor of "the hill" he began our day with us this morning. we invited him back to help set the stage for the next few hours. that caller was concerned about health care. the 234u78 one priority for the incoming house republican majority. what challenges do they have ledgely in getting what they want? guest: they have a lot. house republicans is going to be one of the first things they
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address. they have the health care repeal vote scheduled for next week. it's going to pass. it may attract a few democratic votes. all republicans are expected to vote for that repeal. but then they will instruct their committee to come up with a replacement. so first they'll repeal it in the house. and then try to come up with some type of replacement. that's when it gets tricky. it's very tricky for house republican leaders because democrats are already attacking them for wasting their time. this is unlikely to move in the senate any time soon. and as far as even if it did, it would surely be vetoed by the president. there is a danger for republicans to spend too much time on health care instead of on jobs. republicans say that the health care bill was a job-killing bill. democrats say it created jobs. that's the rub right there. clearly without a doubt when voters went to the polls in november, they voted about the ailing economy. certainly republicans are vowing to address that. one of their big mantras that eric cantor said yesterday,
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we'll cut the government and grow the economy. whether that works, we'll see. host: a day of change on capitol hill. we also learned according to "new york times" that will a change in the white house, staff positions are moving. robert gibbs, the chief spokesperson, has apparently decided to step down in early february. he will be a political advisor to the re-election campaign. may take on some additional clients as well. as a reporter, what's your reaction? guest: it is pretty big news. any type the chief spokesman for the president -- time the chief spokesman for the president leaves, it has been rumored many months. robert gibbs was not beloved by some house democrats. speaker pelosi was not a big fan of robert gibbs. we we interviewed him last year, he failed the professional left. he said a lot of the liberal base is upset with the
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president. but the president has delivered on health care. he has gotten a lot of credit card reform done. got wall street reform done. and the white house is very frustrated by the liberal base. after he made those comments to us, there were two members of the house, one, alan grayson, who lost in november, called for his resignation. it is a big deal. somewhat expected he would go. speculation who will replace him. keep pute press secretary. jay carney used to work for "time" magazine and now vice president biden's chief spokesman. host: in a few minutes we are expected to take you live to the congressional black caucus meeting on capitol hill where nancy pelosi is addressing the members of the black caucus. a new congress. will have 45 african-americans. two republicans this time. decision about whether or not they will join a traditionally democratic caucus. let me ask you about nancy pelosi as we get ready to see her.
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what did you see in her approach? her attitude to the new congress? guest: very interesting that she would not -- first of all no regrets on what they did as far as their record. she blames the high unemployment for why democrats lost their majority. but a lot of independent observers said, well, nancy pelosi last year said she was going to focus on jobs as did the president. but unemployment still was at 9.8%. she refused to look backward and said she's looking forward. looking forward to certainly taking on republicans. she says working with them. if she feels like they are going in the right direction. but her main goal is to become speaker again. it's going to be an uphill climb because they have got to pick up around 25 seats and with redistricting is going to be difficult. nancy pelosi, you shouldn't count her out because she has come back. she moved a loft bills a lot of people didn't think she would get votes for.
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most notably health care reform. she's an impressive fundraiser. it's a new era for nancy pelosi. first time she's minority leader with a democrat in the white house. host: we'll take a call from a viewer, republican in north carolina. you are on. good morning. caller: good morning. thank you for being there. i enjoy the program. this is the first time i have ever been able to get on. i tried to call in the past about the topic of social security reform and i know that that's regarded as one of those entitlement things. i question first of all that i'd like to ask and make this comment. i wonder if the idea of reworking social security to include some of the individual retirement accounts from the
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1990's and was totally misrepresented by the people who were so against it. the aarp at that time. i don't know how many of the listeners remember that period when the seniors were so aggravated about the way aarp represented that and just totally falsified the intention -- host: let me jump in at that point. thank you for making your first call. social security. guest: president george w. bush soon after the election he called for social security reform, including private personal account. that didn't go anywhere in the republican congress at the time. and it was a political liability for republicans. you don't hear a lot about those
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personal accounts coming back. however, you are hearing more about changes to social security. significant ones, paul ryan wants to do some major entitlement reform. some members of both parties have talked about lifting the retirement age for social security and not people on social security now but future generations. that is one of the areas that is being tackled as far as dealing with the nation's record deficit. host: our next congressional guest and later on, diane black, republican of tennessee, is someone who has been exploring the idea of prichesing the social security for younger recipients. people coming into the system going forward. we'll talk with her about that. let's take a telephone call next from chicago. caroline, independent, go ahead. caller: good morning. i first of all want to thank everyone who is coming into washington today to work to strengthen our great nation.
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i also have a question that i would like to ask everyone who is coming in, which is to revis it the tax exempt code. we always talk about cutting taxes and we do need to cut taxes. we need to cut spending. we need to close some of the nearly 1,000 military bases around the world. and perhaps some of the viment things need to -- vimet things need to be -- entitlement things need to be tramped. one of the things that never hits the table for discussion is a multidrill dollar, hundreds of billions dollar tax exempt sector which includes universities when endowments of $20 billion, $40 billion, still have to pay $80,000 going to college. so i think that it is time this country has evolved a lot.
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i think it is time for -- to revis it the tax exempt sector. megachurches that own lots of real estate, ministers fly around in private planes and they are tax exempt. host: thank you. we have a short time here until we go to the congressional black caucus. call on tax reform and which direction republicans plan on taking it. guest: it's so hard to move. tax reform is the hardest type of bills. president obama says i'm ready for that debate. they extend the the bush tax cuts as well as striking a deal with republicans on unemployment benefits for a couple years. the unemployment would last 13 months. this is setting up the stage for a major debate on tax reform. republicans are interested in it. democrats are interested in it. they want to do it in different ways. it will be very difficult to do that. host: thank you very much for spending part of our day with us. we'll see you again soon. guest: thank you.
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host: we'll take you live to nancy pelosi speaking to the congressional black caucus. >> as speaker of the house, the 111th congress is to come and congratulate the congressional black caucus of the 112th congress. in this short period of time between their swearing-in and the swearing-in of the new congress. i come on behalf of all of my colleagues to not only offer corn gratlations -- congratulations but a deep sense of gratitude for the contribution that the congressional black caucus and its many friends have made to the strength of our country. and with the recognition that so much more needs to be done and the challenges that we face ahead. there is a tradition in the house when you hear somebody very eloquently presenting the case that you just decide to say i associate myself with the previous speaker and call if a -- it a morning, but i do want
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to acknowledge how blessed we are to have emmanuel cleaver as the head of the c.b.c. he follows in some mighty footsteps of congresswoman barbara lee fulfilling a vision that she set forth of this caucus hags been -- has been said over and over started four decades ago. congratulations to you, congresswoman barbara lee, as leader of the c.b.c. congratulations to emmanuel, and i'm happy to see emmanuel senior and junior, the third here joining diane. congratulations to the entire family for the wonderful benefit we will have. emmanuel senior, i have to tell you this. when he was a new member of
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congress we asked him to speak as a freshman member at a meeting, rally that we had. he talked about you the whole time. he talked about how in church one day the minister was saying that the -- they took up the collection and he said that the money was tainted. it was tainted. was tainted. then it finally -- the collectors keep bringing it up. he said it's tainted. it taint enough. that was our introduction to emmanuel cleaver. needless to say did not do justice to the way he told the story. that was when the world knew what you all new and we suspected we had a great leader in our midst.
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he ought to get the message across. i was reading, we take such great pride in the c.b.c. in the 40 years of its leadership in the congress, but i was reading that we see chairman conyers and chairman rangel as the two charter members, founding members, thank you for your leadership, that there originally were -- ok. originally were 13 original members. i was thinking how interesting. 13 original colonies coming to together to fight for freedom. 13 original members of the c.b.c. coming together to expand freedom in our country. 10 years before that, and we will observe this this month, 50 years ago was the inauguration of president john f. kennedy, january 20, we'll observe that. many of you were drawn into
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politics, many of you were not born, but -- i was there that day. it may be history to you but it was my youth. to see the swearing-in and the beautiful words that were said about how important every person is in our country. and in the course of that time from the president's inauguration and with president lyndon johnson, with people like john lewis and our distinguished assistant leader, jim clyburn, many of whom are here present, working hard to teach america what our country was about. in the civil rights movement. because of what they did, what are we now, 42, 43 strong here. we want more, of course, 43 strong from the original 13.
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i really -- it is an honor again, thank you greg melvin for your introduction of one title or another, emmanuel, barbara lee, congressman donnell payne, thank you for your leader -- donald payne, thank you for your leadership as chairman of the foundation. and congratulations on receiving the foundation's performing arts scholarship. it's important to recognize the talent congress us in many different ways. and what a great honor to receive that from the c.b.c. back to john f. kennedy. he said at the time, this nation was founded by men, men, of many nations and backgrounds and was founded on the principle that all men are created equal. and the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man is threatened. i did not really mean that as a source of humor, but in any
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event, the fact when the rights of one person are threatened, then the rights of every person are diminished. what we are facing now as we go forward, and emmanuel addressed this. is that if we are talking about the dignity and words of every person and everyone is equal, then it is really important in our society that dignity be afforded the ability to make a living. suitable to the talents that people have. it isn't enough to say we are going to put people back to work. many people have not had work. because for the number of years they have been excluded. because our system has favored the high end.
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under president obama and the conscience of the congress, the c.b.c., we have fought to change the leverage. with wall street reform, with the greatest consumer protections ever where we are saying no longer will recklessness on wall street cause joblessness on main street. the work must be valued. that the consumer, the greatest consumer protections in history, and talking about health care reform where again the leverage moved to the people away from the insurance companies. these were all in their own right important, but as a source of job creation in a new way, what we want to do on energy independence and new green jobs, in a new way so that many young people in the african-american community and minority community are on the ground floor of building the future for our
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country. so what we are saying is -- as we go forward, we extend, extend a hand, a willing hand of friendship. if our colleagues are interested in creating jobs for all americans. if they are interested in strengthening the middle class, enhancing those who are there and pulling many more people into it, and by reducing the deficit so that we are not giving tax cuts to the rich and sending the bill to our grandchildren and future generations as it increases the deficit. create jobs, strengthen the middle class, reduce the deficit. that helps all americans. that helps create american jobs. i was so pleased to see the acknowledgement 6 our men -- of our men and women in uniform and the african-american community has played such a big role, the
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minority community in general played such a big role in keeping us the home of the brave and land of the free. thank you for your service to our country. we owe you more, though, than that thanks. we owe our returning troops jobs. we owe them jobs. that when they come home we are building a future worthy of their sacrifice. so this before you see probably the greatest collection of idealism, of imagination for what you have, a connection to people and their needs, to energy and stamina. to get the job done. to a relentlessness and dissatisfaction with the status quo until many more people can partake in the american dream. i comb here to say thank you for that. our great president, barack
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obama, has said we will measure our success by the progress that is being made by america's working families. if we rentlessness could be -- relentlessness could be expanded with intensity, that only begins to tell the story of barbara lee, manual cleaver, and members of the c.p.c. on behalf of working families in america. relentless, persistent, creative, entrepreneurial, imaginative, patriotic for our country. we have our own preacher in the leadership, jim clyburn, who makes us reflect upon our purpose as we begin our meetings. and again we had a service this morning at church, interdenominational service, and
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came here and heard preacher cleaver and it is true, though, that what he was saying, it is about our values, about what we carry inside of us. we can go to church and talk about god's blessings on all of us, and how we are all equal in his eyes and we are all equal in terms ever our constitution -- terms of our constitution, that equality has to extend to economic opportunity for all americans as well. dr. martin luther king taught us a lot about how to be effective, how to get a job done. how to stick by your principles, right, john? and how -- and taught america so much. we learned every day in the congress that instruction continues from our c.b.c.
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i said before and others have said, they are the conscience of the congress. your support of them intellectually and in every way, personally and every way, is a great resource not only for them and the congress but for our country. we will not rest. again we extend the hand of friendship to create jobs, grow the middle class, and reduce the deficit. we look for common ground to solve the problems of the american people. their health, their housing, their jobs, their savings, their children's education. but where we cannot find common ground, we must stand our ground on behalf of the pledge we take every day with liberty and justice for all. and that includes economic justice for all. so i have come here to thank the
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c.b.c. for being who you are. to congratulate your growth, to wish successful to your new leader, to express appreciation to barbara lee for her leadership, to the foundation in donald payne, to the families for sharing emmanuel with us, but this looks like one great big family to me. i see diane watson, who is going to be leaving us now, but will always be part of our family. we all know what our important role is, has been, and will continue to be. two years from now when we come together, things will be different. things will be different. and we are now all engaged in a campaign for all americans. what better, better field marshals in that campaign than
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congressional black caucus under the leadership of emmanuel cleaver. thank you all very much. congratulations. i'll see you on the floor of the house. thank you-all very much. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> ladies and gentlemen, the speaker of the house. ms. nancy pelosi. we would also thank the congressional black caucus for the four decades as it has served as the conscience of the congress. as we move further into this century we look forward to our dedicated service in leading us to the next face of our historic journey. we ask right now that all the members please stand. ladies and gentlemen, one final time, please join me in saluting the congressional black caucus of the 112th congress.
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host: nancy pelosi, outgoing speaker of the house of representatives, assuming after today her new role as minority leader of the house of representatives. addressed the reporters of the congressional black caucus at their meeting today on capitol hill. this is c-span's live coverage of the opening day of the 112th congress. we are pleased to have you with us today. we are live until the house and senate gavel into session around 12:00 noon eastern time. during the day we'll take your telephone calls, introducing you to new members of the house and senate and talking about issues and much of the pomp and circumstance that go with opening day of the congress. you can see we have our phone numbers on the bottom of the screen. we will return to taking your telephone calls. also today when the house comes into session, for those of you who are faithful viewers, we'll be live streaming today's house session on facebook. and those on facebook community can add your comments to the live stream for real time commentary on what's happening on the floor of the house of
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representatives. the "wall street journal" this morning had a snapshot of what the new congress will look like. let's look how they crunched the numbers here to give you a sense of what the new congress will look like. 246 democrats. it 89 republicans. 42 black members of congress. 26 hispanics. 11 arab shan. same as last year. one native american. 89 women. 113 veterans. 507 members of the congress, house and senate together will have a college degree. four openly gay. 202 attorneys. 209 come from business and banking. 37 come from medicine. six are farmers or ranchers. the average age of the new congress, 57.4. the youngest member of the house of representatives is not a freshman it's aaron schock, republican from illinois who is
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29 years old. the oldest member is ralph hall, 87 years old, republican of texas. an the longest serving you c-span viewers know the answer to this one, john dingell of michigan, 55 years in the u.s. house of representatives. as we wait for our next congressional guest, we'll take your telephone calls. let's hear from chase a democrat watching us in los angeles. chase, you are on the air. caller: i wanted to talk about the health care repeal because my child was kicked out of my health care because he has cancer. i think it's disgusting that the republicans and the tea baggers are trying to keep my child off of my health care again because they want to take the house, they want to take the white house in 2012. they claim that obama was having a death squad with health care, the republicans and tea baggers are the ones that are forming the death squad because while they are fighting among themselves, people are dying because they are going to be taken off health care.
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that's all i got to say. host: thanks very much. looking at live pictures from the house office building. that is a father and son team in the house and senate. paul, rand paul, and ron paul, his father a long-term congressman from texas. wilmington, delaware. brian, inpent, you are live on c-span -- independent, you are live on c-span. caller: i basically had a comment, too. i don't know if anybody in this country has looked at the clothing that they wear, the toys they buy for their kids, and just an assortment of things we buy retail shops. nothing is manufactured in this country. and that's the biggest problem that is the reason why we don't have jobs because we do not make anything in this country anymore. that would solve a big problem in the u.s. if we stop outsourcing all of our
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manufacturing and stuff to other countries. that's pretty much it. host: thanks very much. we are televising live from inside the cannon house office building. the members of the house have named their three major office buildings after former speakers. joe cannon is the honoree for this building. longworth is named after nichlas longworth. and this building was the oldest of the three. you heard congressman price talking about it yesterday. .
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why is 76 cents of every dollar spent on administrative costs? to me that's way out of order, way out of line. in an economy where companies are asking employees to do -- to cut back and do double work, the government is spending 76 cents of every dollar on the administrative costs. cut the administrative costs and and leave benefits alone, people have paid into them, that's all i have to say. >> we're going to take a short break and then come back and introduce you to more members of the incoming 112th congress. >> with the new congress coming in today at noon, eastern,
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here's a look at demographics of the house. republicans will regain of the chamber with 242 mens -- members compared to 193 democrats. the average age is 56, with 27 members under the age of 40. of the total 435 members, 362 are men and 73 are women. over half have advanced degrees, 319 being attorneys and 19 working in the medical profession. house republicans have announced they'll begin working on a repeal of health care legislation signed into law last year. that rule debate begin this is friday with a final vote scheduled for wednesday, january 12. senate democrats say they'll block the bill should it come to the senate floor. go to c-span.org to read a copy of the resolution and follow the house live as always on c-span and the senate on c-span2.
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>> on this opening day of the 112th congress, we continue live coverage in h.d. from the cannon house office building. our next congresswoman election is one of nine incoming freshman democrat members. to what do you owe your election? >> it's to the voters and i believe in hawaii, what they really voted for were the concept of who would best represent hawaii's values. every person elected believes they come from a unique place but i tell everyone, hawaii is very unique and my election is a reflection of that. >> you spent the last two years oas -- 12 years of president of
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the hawaii senate. >> i spent 12 years in elected office and the last four as president of the hawaii senate. >> thanks for clarifying that. coming from the state legislature and a leadership position, you're now going to the bottom rung in terms of seniority, minority party and a freshman to boot. this seems like it will be a big adjustment for you. how are you processing and getting ready for it? >> the hawaii legislature has always been dominated by democrats of having said that, that doesn't mean we can't have factions and sort of like groups within the majority. so all i tell myself is, remember what it was like, it wasn't too long ago when i first got elected, remember what it was like and what it took to move up. after two years, i was vice president of the senate for two years, then majority leader for four and then i became president of the senate, first woman to do so. it's just part of the process,
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part of our learning process and it's part of what we do. >> what are your goals for your first year? >> the goals for my first year are really to serve the people of the state of hawaii and we have a very fragile economy in the sense that our economy is so controlled by global happenings, it's really something that's a great measure of public confidence. tourism is our major industry. i believe that what i need to do in this first year is to do what it takes to stabilize hawaii's economic base and then ensure that we continue with our upward swing. >> what's the unemployment rate at home? >> we have one of the lowest in the nation, i think we're under 6% now. >> to what do you owe that? >> hawaii has always been, i think, a state that a lot of people want to come to visit. that's part of it. but we also are a very large military establishment.
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we are the defender of the pacific. i think a lot of it, too, is senator inoueye and other o-- our other senator have done a great job and managed to maintain us in hawaii in terms of a stable base with federal help. >> health care has always been a big issue for hawaiians. republicans are intending to have a vote on january 12 to repeal the health care law. how popular is the health care legislation in hawaii? >> you know, people may not realize this, but hawaii has an exemption maintained in the health care law. we're the only state in the nation that has a health care law that was in effect in 1974. it took an exemption. so we don't have the same impact. hawaii people were more concerned about, ok, do we get
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to continue to maintain what we have? and in essence, the answer is yes, we do. we are the example of why we need this, we need the affordable health care act. the concept behind what makes hawaii work, we have one of the lowest premiums in the nation with the best coverage available. we are an employer-based plan. in other words if you work, the employer contributes, and we have 30 years under our belt doing that. with what we show is the importance of having as many people covered and the importance of preventive medicine. our greatest group in terms of coverage are women and children. so when you look at the health care act provides, it really tracks a lot of the issue that
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we have. the reason why it's so exciting to us, though is the fact that it has such an emphasis on primary care and we need to have the primary care physicians elevated again so that, it's their family doctors, the family practitioners. that's what makes the basis of success, i believe, of health care reform. >> does hawaii have mandatory participation? >> it does. mandatory participation in the sense that if you work 20 hours or more, your employer must coverage you. we have also had a very active type of program, we -- everyone that qualifies is in that. we also took advantage of schip the children's health care. we have probably great coverage. no one is 100% covered but it's pretty close to that. i think that we have the longest
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living people in the nation. it's all a function of our health care. >> this is your first of many visits to a c-span call-in program, one thing we do is mix our national audience in with members of congress so you can hear their concern. we're going to do that with this first call for you, john is watching in ohio, you are on for the congresswoman elect. >> congratulations on your election? >> -- on your election. >> thank you. >> an anniversary of sorts is coming up for me, on january 9, two years ago, my company announced i was losing my job. it's been two years i've been unable to find work but it isn't for a lack of trying. i've interviewed for four positions in the last two months, one was $9 an hour, another $11 an hour, another in the high 20's and another one
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for the low 30's. i was previously making in the mid 50's two years ago. so my reality is i'm going to have to accept a position that's going to be making maybe half or even a fourth of what i used to make in the state of ohio. i'm accepting that. the only thing i want to just say is that the middle class is being destroyed and it's happening before our eyes and we've just got to come to accept it. sooner or later those jobs from china will come back to the united states, once we've come to the acceptance that we're going to have to accept some minimum wage paying jobs in this country. so we're angry out here but i'm angry far different reason. i'm angry because it seems as though that first line of duty for the new republican sconk the repeal of health care legislation from a guy, myself, who has a pre-existing condition, and who has amputations from diabetes, i
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don't really know how i'm going to enter my's, i'm a bt to enter my 50's with the republican congress more concerned with the special interest and their -- you get where i'm going? host: yes, thank you, john, for your call. guest: i think what john was getting at is the fact that he's concerned about the potential repeal. john, the one thing that serving in a state legislature has taught me and that we seem to be losing sight of is the fact that we all are -- we are on a two-part system in the congress, anything that's done in the house of representatives must be approved by the senate and the president has the ultimate act of legislative authority, which i say can be exercised in the negative, the veto. more than likely, i do not see it happening. the republicans in the house may take this vote, it may be a
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symbolic vote, but when you think about the total process and this is an example of why we should be appreciative of the fact that there is checks and balances of the two houses, plus the executive branch in terms of the negative veto, so i do not see the health care reform act being repealed. i was probably -- i would probably assume it's more of a symbolic act than anything else. they have the votes to get it through congress. that doesn't mean it's going to be repealed. remember the process. >> the first part of his situation was the fact he is going to have to accept a lower paying job. do you think that's the reality for many out of work and displaced workers in the country right now? guest: thing until such time that we have a better sense of what the economic growth is going to be like, john, this all comes down to public confidence, and maybe unfortunately you are taking one of the first steps and saying, you know, i hope you
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believe, though, that it's going to get better, but to survive, this is what i'm going to have to do. i don't want john or people like john to peel that this is it, that they'll never see what they have. because i believe the middle class is the foundation of this great country. it is what in 1954, not too long ago, and i wasn't there, i'm just telling you what i understand, when even hawaii decided to have a switch in power. hawaii was a plantation state. so when they started to switch in 1954, it was really for one purpose, the creation of the middle class. and that's -- the rise of democrats and the rise of the middle class happens basically at the same time. don't lose hope. the middle class has got to be revived and that's what we're here to do. >> it's a 12-hour trip for you to get home, how often do you think you'll make it? >> i'm looking at the calendar that the republican majority have come up with and actually,
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it continues the way they have it set out, it looks like maybe once every three weeks, around there, i'll be able to get home and the -- for someone like myself who has that distance to travel, what we also have is the fact that it gives me a period of time, because we're in district for at least a week, gives me a period of time to participate with constituents. no matter what, the constituents are who really matter. host: what do you think it will be like to cast your first vote on the house of representatives later today? guest: i don't think we have a choice. i think it's probably going to be an organizational vote. nevertheless, we will be voting. i just -- i'm not sure if it's going to be a symbolic vote or no. -- or not. host: in terms of having been in the legislature, but coming to the national legislature, are
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you anticipating the sense of importance of being in there and casting a vote as a representative? >> you know, i believe that it is. it's something that, you know, it's beginning to really hit you. things like the pin and the significance of the pin and what it all means. but i think it's also what it is, it's really a bittersweet experience because you realize that nationally, we have got so much to do yuned do know, like in any legislative body that starts, what's going to happen is that you're going to have the partisan posturing, we've got to get over that we've got to get to the point where we can start to do the people's work. if we don't, we're going to get delays, for people like john, we're going to delay their ability to feel confident in the government. host: your i'm -- our time with you is short today, i know it's a busy day, but thank you for
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your time and come back to visit us. guest: thank you. host: representative hanabusa of hawaii will be sworn in in a little while. we are outside the rayburn office building, across the street from the capitol building, we have our studio set up today and a lot of television crews do as well. we'll continue to taking calls as we hook up our next member of congress and continue our program. miami, florida, you are on the air. geena, a republican. caller: i wanted to say that i hope this congress really does live out the will of what the people want. i'm latina, conservative, i did not appreciate having health care rammed down our throats and having it as a mandate. to me, it is unconstitutional at
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the expense of my civil liberties. and those who were conservative were called racist. and many being a latina, that is far from the truth. i think that health care needs to be open up across state lines. that would lower the cost, simple as that. i'm a small business owner. i do not want to be penalized if i can't afford the government's health care or do not want government health care, the government running my life or telling me how to survive or having my money being spent on paying for someone else's abortions. host: thank you for your call from miami. your topic of health care is one that's important to our next
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guess, diane black, representative elect of the sixth district of tennessee. she comes to the congress from her work in the state legislature of tennessee. she has also been a nurse in her prior life and very much interested in health care. thank you for being with us. guest: thank you for having me. host: that caller does not like the new health care law and i understand one of your top priorities is joining in the republican effort for repeal. tell us what you don't like about the law. >> first -- guest: first of all, the new american health care plan was sold as something to allow more access to health care and lower the cost of health care. neither one of those things has been done by this bill. as a matter of fact, we see now it is causing folks to not be able to get health care, in particular, we audiocassette talk about one area where there is a mandate there, the insurance companies must insure children up to the age of 24. what we have found is that there are a lot of insurance companies
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saying, we're not going to be in this business any longer because we know we can't survive if that's what we're going to do. the second piece of that was to insure chern regardless of their health care history. as a result of that, i know several health care insurance agent ises in my district said, we're just dropping any insurance for children whatsoever system of that did not give us more access. in addition to that, as you continue to see people drop off and not be able to afford was the cost has now gone up, any time you take people away, it reduces the number that you're insuring. that causes the costs to rise. we know that it hasn't met the needs of either of those. there are a lot of pieces of that legislation that are yet to be known. guest: in this program, we are mixing in telephone calls and mixing policy with a little bit of the ceremonies and behind the scenes of today. i was watching as you were waiting for us to come on, you've got some young folks with
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you here. who are they? guest: we do. we have six grandchildren, i have the oldest ones here, jenna and warren and joseph, and we a 3 1/2 and a 1-year-old also. we have our whole family, my mom and dad who are 85 years old were able to make it. it's an emotional time for all of us to know how hard we worked to get here. host: what was the first time you thought about running for the u.s. congress? guest: several years ago, as you stated before i came on, i had been in the state legislature. i spent six years in the house of representatives at the state and six years in the senate. several years ago, i was asked to consider coming to congress and just didn't think the timing was right. i still had work to be done in the senate and enjoyed what i was doing. as i looked to see what was happening in the country and especially the amount of debt being piled up, i realized i
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wanted to be part of the discussion here in washington because i looked at the future of my grandchildren and recognized that the direction we're headed is not the direction i want to be in when they start to get jobs and they start trying to go to school to realize that the debt is so high they're not going to be able to afford to do the things i've been able to do host: you're one of two freshmen who will be on the ways and means committee. our c-span viewers know that's the tax writing committee in the house of representatives. not only will the tax reform debate go through there, but it's also, buzz of their taxation and funding for social security and medicare comes through and policy issues. what do you want to accomplish with that seat? >> i am just so honored to be given the opportunity to serve on ways and means. i think that part of the reason i was given that opportunity is because i did serve on the finance ways and means at the state level for the past six years. i have some experience in that area. taxation is very important to me and has been to my district and
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i think is to the entire country. we know that the high taxes and mandates we place on businesses are really heavily impacting them. they're not growing their businesses and it's affecting our jobs. that's an important point for me and it's important to lower taxes and stim lit more job friendly environments. host: as we get closer to the noon hour on the east coast, the noise level is rising here a lot more people in the cannon office building, members of congress to be and their families ready to walk across to the capitol for their swearing in. we'll take a few calls for diane black, representative-elect from tennessee. let's begin with a call from hutchinson, kansas, this is sheila, an independent. thanks for waiting, you're on. caller: good morning, ma'am, congratulations. i'm one of 21 people who signed
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a formal complaint against robert wood johnson foundation. we sent the complaint and nothing has been done. what we're having the problem with, they are the biggest lobby group, they have employees of the johnson & johnson company, the new surgeon general was on the board of robert wood johnson. we want this stopped and we don't know how to do it and nobody will report it because johnson & johnson is theing me-elephant in the room. please -- is the mega-elephant in the room. please comment on that. guest: first of all, we have to be cautious when we talk about drug companies, they have been given a bad rap as far as the medication and what the cost of the medication is. one of the things that i do caution people about is that the united states, out of all the countries in the entire world,
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has the best health care system. part of that is due to the fact that we have good research with our drug companies. and the countries around the world will look to us for new drugs and for research to make sure that we are on the cutting edge for helping to find new ways to treat diseases that we have treated in the past that maybe, for instance, such as antibiotics that have become drug resistant and we have to have research to get better antibiotics. absolutely we want to be sure the drug companies are held to a high standard, yet we don't want to get to the point where we limit them so much they don't have the money to use for research. there's a balance there. we have to find that balance. that balance is important for the people knowing that if they go too far we won't have the opportunity to have research that's so important. host: michigan, our next caller,
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this is juanita, a democrat. are you there, juanita? all right, we're going to move on to walnut creek, california, sherry, republican. good morning. caller: thank you for taking my call. i'm a first-time caller and it's not for lack of trying but i want to congratulate all the incoming congressmen and wish you all the best. i do want to pass a comment about your earlier incoming congresswoman from hawaii who made a statement about erisa. i realize erisa is a tough situation to try to impact but one reason she claims they have a low insurance rate is because they have an erisa exemption. why can't congress simply pass a law that exempts all states, this way the insurance companies are responsible for their legal mumbo jumbo when they do things
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wrong to insured and they don't have any responsibility except a federal court which gives them, you know, basically no outward liability except to maybe, for the insurance to collect past ploovens what's due? caller: i'm not sure of her question, i didn't listen to what was being said by the previous -- guest: i'm not sure of her question, i didn't listen to what was being said by the previous congresswoman. i'm not really up to date. host: it's ok, we'll move on, you can't know everything today on the first day. 96 members of the republican pressureman class, 87 are republican, nine democrats, 35 of them are holding office for the first time. what kind of help can you offer for the transition for people
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who have never worked in a legislative environment before? guest: i have found with the new colleagues i have met, we have had time to spend time together, both democrat and republicans, during our orientation, and this crop of folks coming in are very diverse which is wonderful because i'm not disparaging to attorneys, i love attorneys and worked with them in the state legislature of tennessee but i'm happy to see people who come from all different business perspectives. i think what you're seeing here are people that are coming with a real heart. they love the united states, they love america, they love the founding principles of america and they want to see this country get through this very difficult time and get back to prosperity and be the greatest country on earth. i think what we're seeing here are people that have elect
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experience and some that don't, but people who have a lot of richness from their communities, certainly the procedures will be new for me, even though i'm -- i've been an elected official, the procedure here's in congress will be different than what we used at the state level and anything i can do to help them along from my perspective, i'm happy to do, but they come with a lot of knowledge and they'll learn to work through the systems and procedures and be very effective. host: we have a caller from hackensack, new jersey. caller: i have a friend who will exhaust her 99 weeks unemployment next month and i would like to know what congress will do to help my friend and others like her who have exhausted their employment benefits and will exhaust it soon in 99 weeks. thank you. guest: i think the best thing we can do to stimulate the economy
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is be business friendly. as i campaigned for a full year across middle tennessee, what i heard as i visited small businesses, medium sized businesses and large businesses, they want to grow. they have the capitol and the will to grow. flst a call out there for them to grow but they're scared because they don't know what the federal government will do to them next, mandates a health care mandate a cap and trade mandate, one mandate after another so they're almost frozen and feel like they don't want to move or can't move forward because they don't know what's going to hit them next. they've got to hold on to their capital. i think the best thing we can do for people to create jobs is get out of the way of business, and they tell me that all the time, get out of the way and let me operate my business and stop putting these mandates on me. i believe if we do that, we'll see this economy just boom and it will -- people will have jobs
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once again. host: would you vote for another extension of unemployment benefits? guest: i want to see what the numbers are, i understand people are hurting, i want to help those who truly can't find a job. i'd like to have a hearing on just what's going on throughout our nation. i know what's happening in my part of the world, in the sixth district. but to know what's happening throughout the entire country are some questions i'd like to can before i make that decision. host: thank you for taking time out on an incredibly busy day for incoming members to spend time with me. guest: thank you, i look forward to more conversations. host: our final guest is joining us from the senate side of capitol hill, senator-elect richard blumen that will, still officially the attorney general of your state, how is that transition being handled? >> very smooth --
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guest: very smoothly. i packed my boxes yesterday and finished most remaining work and my successor will take over almost at the same time as i take my oath of office today. my term ends and the new attorney general takes every -- takes over around noon today. overall we want to create jobs, to enable small businesses to provide more employment and tory vive our economy, restore economic recovery and to make sure that we address our
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national debt. but most important, to put it in connecticut terms, i'll put every proposal and through the lens of what makes the most sense for the people of connecticut. host: we're talking not only policy but also the pomp and circumstance of the day. i understand your predecessor will have a role in your swearing in today. guest: senator dodd will escort me down the aisle and so will senator lieberman. it's an exciting day for me, i'm honored, humbled to be here on this day of pomp and circumstance, as you rightly called it, but it's really the first day of work for a new congress and it's a historic opportunity address the longer
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term problems the nation faces. i've been attorney general, i have a history of reaching across the aisle, trying to forge bipartisan solutions, the american people want us to work together and want washington to work for the american people and respond much better than washington has so far. host: you are 53rd in seniority in democrats. guest: 53rd in seniority is not a bad place to be. i'm here in washington where the federal government has failed to listen to the american people and most particularly to the people of connecticut. all my life, i've been an advocate and fighter. that's what i intend to be in washington. different forum, same kinds of fight for people to make a
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difference in their lives. host: early decision for senators will be whether or not to support the filibuster rules changes. have you made up your mind on that? guest: i have. i have joined the resolution to change the senate rules to eliminate the filibuster abuses that gridlocked the united states senate so often in the past. i believe that the filibuster has to be changed to make it more transparent, to eliminate those abuses and also that we need to eliminate secret holds on senate action, including nominations. so i have joined in the resolution to reform the senate rules. host: is that a decision that if in fact the democrats ever lose the majority in the senate you might have second thoughts about? guest: i believe the american people want the senate to work better and that's what the rules changes would do.
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they also want bipartisanship. they want people to work together and cooperate. it really is that simple. you've probably been hearing it again and again and again throughout your show. and it is a point that has been driven home very dramatically in these elections. so i believe that overriding any partisan interest is the goal of making washington listen and respond to real problems and issues and also making possible and necessary better bipartisan solutions. host: let's take a couple of viewer telephone calls for you. let's begin with a call from philadelphia, this is germane, an independent -- this is jermaine, an independent. you are on the air for the senator-elect. caller: congratulations on your election and of course today's
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swearing in. i no longer have confidence in my government and it really hurts for someone who has served honorably an faithly in the united states army and marine corps, there are a lot of issues very, very important to me, most of all the homelessness amongst veterans. i have been in the situation where i've been homeless and have had the opportunity to talk to a lot of men and women who are homeless on nch and on the streets and we have put them there. my wife and i are having issues in terms of get back to work. my wife a teacher she's been laid off three years and can't get back to work. what are you going to do to address these issues to help the american citizens feel confident in the government? host: thanks, germaine.
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guest: profoundly important. thank you for your service in the united states army and marine corps. semper fi. i have a son in the united states marine corps reserve, he will probably be deployed in may for service abroad, reportedly afghanistan. so these issues are really very much in my home, literally. i see every day veteran whs need help. very simply, help, but more than help, they need the country to keep faith with the promises that we've made to them, commitments that we've made to our veterans and that we are failing to keep. i propose a program called no veteran left behind. we have no child left behind, i think we need a program called no veteran left behind when it comes to jobs and counseling and health care.
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all too often we have failed to provide this to our veterans. that is very clearly a priority and we need to reform the veterans administration. our present administrator is moving in the right direction to eliminate the problem of homelessness among veterans. a quarter to a third of all homeless people in this country are veterans. what an outrage and embarrassment. i agree with you toletly and we're moving, for example, in connecticut, to establish more homeless shelters for women veterans and there's one now under way, i've assisted with fundraising, in the city of bridge port for homeless female veterans. but more shelters, more counseling, drugs programs for our veterans. on the subject of joblessness generally, i believe that we
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need a program that will provide for a -- provide more aid for small business. people create jobs, businesses create jobs, government provides tools. we can provide, for example, higher tax deductions for startups, more tax deductions for the expenses of businesses in certain areas when they hire people. the kinds of recourse that your wife -- for those your wife represents, very skilled, educated people, can be put to work for our small businesses by eliminated, for example, the taxes and burdens on small businesses when they engage in new hires. an of course promoting exports. connecticut is an export state, i believe so is pennsylvania where you live and we can remove some of the obstacles to exports, unfair trade policies, on the part of other countries.
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i advocated stronger sanctions against the chinese because of their currency manipulation which right now inhibits our exports. there are a range of measures we can adopt. closing some of those tax loopholes for sending jobs overseas, not only send the jobs oversea pus they also cost us billions of dollars in tax revenue that we could use to provide more incentives for businesses that need jobs here. there are a range of measures an thank you for that excellent question. host: we have about five more minutes with the senator-elect. let's go to anthony. caller: good morning. in regard to health care issues, i'm a disabled veteran and my health care needs have always been met.
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i have friends who are recently unemployed and the local hospital here has changed hands several times and become a nonprofit organization. i have other friends in other downies and the same thing is happening all around the nation. my brother-in-law is in florida, same situation, the hospital is becoming a nonprofit. to say that a small businessman should have to pay for everyone else's health care is not effective for this nation. it will just put so many small business people out of business. host: anthony, thanks. he's concerned about the cost of
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health care to small businesses. guest: and rightly concerned. thank you for your service in the military anthony and let me just say, about health care generally, i support health care insurance reform, i oppose repeal, simply blanket repeal of the measure passed by the last congress. i do believe we need to further improve it by cutting the cost of health care for small businesses and for all of us, health care costs are spiraling out of control and we can reduce those costs by eliminating the waste and fraud, for example, there's a sweetheart deal right now with the pharmaceutical drug companies as a result of a measure in reform that forebids negotiation on health care pharmaceutical drug prices with
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drug companies so the federal government can't her -- lower the cost of medicare pharmaceutical drugs as the v.a. can through negotiation. and that costs us $200 billion or more over time. that's kind of waste and sweetheart deal i think we can eliminate and thereby reduce health care costs. i believe there are many good things in the health care measure that the american people would oppose eliminating through repeal, for example, being able to keep children on the health care policy until age 26, eliminating many health care abuses that i've seen firsthand, as an attorney general, i fought them vigorously, like the use of pre-existing conditions to deny health care coverage. and other abuses. and support for more preventive care. so we save lives and also save
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money. those kinds of health care reforms, i believe, should be kept in place, but we should work hard and introduce measures that will reduce the burden of health care on small businesses and the costs generally that are escalating and increasing. host: a couple of minutes left have you secured your committee assignments yet? guest: i have not. i'm waiting to hear what my committee assignments are going to be, i'm also waiting to hear where my permanent office is going to be. my understanding is that we'll know sometime in january what the committee assignments are. host: what would you like? guest: i would welcome the judiciary committee, very much in line with my experience as a prosecutor and attorney general for 20 years and a u.s. attorney before serving as attorney general. also che commerce committee where a lot of consumer issues are debated and initiated.
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i asked for the veterans affairs committee, as well. i would welcome the health, education and loy boar pension committee, the help committee. in my way of thinking there's no such thing as a bad committee assignment and i'll welcome whatever the assignments are. host: senator, we need to let you go so you can get to the senate floor. guest: i have to be sworn in host: yes, only a few minutes left. we look forward to seeing you in the days and weeks ahead. guest: thank you very much. host: senator-elect richard blumen that will of crlt. the senate is convening at noon, for those of you interested in watching the vice president will be in the chamber acts as president of the senate, we're awaiting his arrival on capitol hill. after the swearing in at noon, some of the things we're expecting is that senator udall will offer his resolution about the change of rules regarding the filibuster and there may be a later offering of resolution
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about secret holds which we hold the senator-elect from connecticut talk about. another thing expected today is an honor of bar rah mcculls kentucky. a headline today, the senator is now the longest-serving senator. there's an expectation she'll be honored as such on the senate floor today. we have about five of six minutes until we bring you live coverage from the floor of the houps. on the phone with us is a gentleman by the name of bill jarle. when the republicans took control the last time around in the 1994 election was very instrumental in helping them understand all the things necessary for transfer of power. he's on the line with us right now. thank you for your time. guest: thank you. you're doing a great job today. host: what do people need to know about the orderly transfer of power in the house of representatives? guest: it's very historical, a
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peaceful transfer of power and the one difference between this year and 1994 is that you have a very experienced speaker coming in who went through many of the ups and downs of minority and majority, remember in 1995, folk nickly, when we came in, we hadn't been in power over 40 years and didn't know how to turn on the lights and microphone. we were in a quandary, whereas this time around, i think speaker boehner has had enough time that he's very prepared for this. i think even with the new house rules, you see changes where we're getting back to basics in 1995, everybody had gone to military training and was trying to figure out what the best way to do business was and they were talking about how to say sthings succinctly. i think mr. baner is getting back to the people and he's in here to do exactly what they
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want and with his leadership, guide a ship that really needs to be righted and another difference in 1995 to today is in 1995, we didn't have the problems we have today. mr. boehner is going to be under an incredible amount of stress to turn things arn for the gheefed country. we're in trouble if we doesn't get it right and he knows it. host: it's suggested by some of the rules changes and the incoming speak's changes, he hopes to divest himself on some of the power of the speaker, would you comment about the speaker's jobs and how it's evolved in the years you've been watching it. guest: depending on how powerful the speaker wants to be or how much of -- how much of a dick kator, he can govern top down or take the information from the people up. i think that's a sign of more compromise. i can tell you, i work at
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madison group, democrats and republicans, and we were all speaking this morning, i know the democrats in our group were saying that they're looking forward to working with this speaker because they at least see an opening to get some of the their -- some of their opinions across, working its way up to subcommittee, committee and onto the house floor. second you see an opening of the process itself. mr. boehner is going to allow the american people to play a much bigger role than we've seen in the last couple of decades, anyway. it's going to be very interesting and it's going to be great for the american people a great exercise in historical rhetoric. it's got to work and i think the changes he's made are going to be a very positive side. host: you know, this institution, as many institutions, wants to push back and not accept the status quo, what problems does he face in implementing his vision for how the congress should be run?
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guest: the biggest challenge, once you empower certain -- empower certain groups of people and they see they have that power, they may be reaching a little bit more than would be necessary to run a stable government. once he opens up the process, it's -- i don't want to use an analogy to something else that opens, but once that process is open, you're going to have a very energetic electorate out there and you're going to be having, i think, a much healthier american electorate and a very engaged american electorate. i think that's going to be good, we're going to see positive results and they're going to be happier but sometimes they're not going to be happy and once you let them inside the process, sometimes it creates a little cray kaye yoss inside the room and inside the chame we are. we'll have to see how that works out. host: our viewers can see it's a beautiful blue-sky day here on capitol hill, we're expecting pick frurs -- pictures from
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inside the capitol soon. who is allowed in on opening day? guest: the members, the members will have their families. they'll receive a number of tickets for constituents from back home, those might be political leaders or people who got them elected or as most of the case, family and it's very exciting. it's emotional. there's just craziness everywhere. it's a happy chaos, euphoria, mr. boehner has done his best to curtail the euphoria. he's asked that everyone calm down, we've got work to do. my analogy would be, it's sort of like going to the super bowl but you're cheering for both teams because this is a year and over the next six months where the president must work with the white house and the senate -- i'm sorry, the speaker must work with the white house an the senate and we've got to get things done because we're in
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trouble, we don't have any time. we've got to get things done now. and the speaker has made that point and understands that more than anyone else. host: are former members allowed on the floor on open dage? guest: they are, but they're going to be making decisions based on room and then at the -- i actually in 1994 went down to the floor at the last minute, there was a little bit of room and i was almost going to miss it to get paperwork done while they were down there because it's one of the most exciting, historically significant events you can be at, it is the peaceful transfer of power and we are the leader of the world in that. host: mr. jarle if you wanted to tell -- mr. jarle if you wanted to -- jarrell if you wanted to tell someone who wasn't interested in politics how this works then power changes hands, what would that be? guest: i would say that ordinarily you're going to have
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-- when power switches hands, there'll be some folks on the other side that hope mr. boehner might screw up a little bit and there'll be people in the new majority that might hope that the past speaker might drop the gavel and there might be a gaffe but i'm actually feeling a lot more solidarity between everybody, maybe it's only for today but like i said the democrats in our group are really looking forward to, while not being in the majority, at least getting things done because we're really running out of time in congress, our approval ratings are low. it's get it done or get them out an everybody knows that. host: bill jarrell joining us by phone here. in 1995 after the 1994 election which brought the republicans back to power for the first time in 40 years, mr. jarrell was responsible for helping understand the transition and transfer of power between the long-serving democrat majority and the incoming republicans. mr. jarrell, thank you for offering your perspective on
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today's transition of power. guest: you bet. bye. host: we have a couple of minutes, we're live from the cannon house office building across the street from the u.s. capitol. we are closest to the house side of capitol hill from where we sit. we are expecting pictures from the floor of the house shortly. we'll use that time in the interim to get a couple of final callers here in we -- if we can. dolores is next from greenville, mississippi. go ahead. are you there? not there we'll get another call ready. as we tell you a little bit more about the incoming class of congress, 242 republicans to 193 democrats, the 112th congress in the house will have 53 women, 23 republicans, 32 democrats. 22 hispanics, nineations, and this is one of the -- nine asians, and this is one of the largest incoming class of freshman, over 20% of congress
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will be freshman members, 96 in total, 83 men, 13 women, 87 republicans and nine democrats. mesa, arizona, jim is a republican watching all this from his part of the country. you're on the air, what do you have to say? caller: my name is jan. host: i'm sorry, go ahead. jan: i wish mr. blumen that will was on, he wants to be on the veterans committee. he said he was in vietnam. my husband was in the vietnam he didn't go over there, but mr. blumen that will turn mis stomach. we lie ley in bed at night trying to keep our business open, utilities, state tax, federal tax, local tax, now they
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want us to pay $10,000 for every employee's insurance. we can't do that. minimum wage, we used to hire teenagers in the summer to teach them how to work, but we can't do that anymore because of the minimum wage. mr. blumen that will, the federal government paid his check since he got out of college, they don't know what the real people or the ordinary people, i'm sick of the saying middle class. i am not middle class, i'm middle income. i'm a lot higher class, you take nancy pelosi, her horrible speech yesterday, i bet the people that lost their seats in the democrats would take aim at her. host: jan, we've got to run. thank you for your call. it will be the last one. we have live pictures from the floor of the house of representatives, 10 minutes away from the opening session, thanks for being with us on the 112th congress opening day.
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tv
Washington Journal
CSPAN January 5, 2011 7:00am-12:00pm EST

News/Business. Journalists and policy-makers take viewer questions; newspaper articles.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 89, John Boehner 41, Washington 38, Nancy Pelosi 26, Hawaii 18, Bob Cusack 16, U.s. 16, America 13, United States 12, C-span 12, Pelosi 10, Illinois 10, Kansas 10, Harry Reid 10, Boehner 10, California 9, Obama 8, Mitch Mcconnell 7, Donald Ritchie 7, Mr. Boehner 6
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